| Anne Williamson |
Reverence for what? This isn't a question I would have asked myself 20 years ago. Because the answer was obvious: God, of course. I was - in fact, everyone was - to revere the Lord. Next question please.
Anymore, the answer is not so obvious to me. It's complicated by a myriad of factors and questions of my own: Who or what is God? And, what does it mean to revere Him? Or, Her? Or, the One Beyond Being? To revere a Collective Consciousness or Energy? What if there is no God? What is the object of our reverence then? Is it necessarily superficial? Even all that different? Does God even desire our reverence?
I recently made the poor decision to tell my toddler about her best friend's upcoming birthday party. I thought it would be fun to look forward to it together. Wrong. Since that day, my husband and I have endured a near endless barrage of questions around said birthday party. Most often, her questions and our responses sound something like this:
Mae: Is Ryan's birthday party today?
Mae: When is it?
Us: October 17th, so 2 weeks from today.
Mae: Oh. [Pause.] So, go after nap?
Us: No, we can't go after nap.
Mae: Why? [Often in a tone leaning in the tantrum direction.]
Us: Because the birthday party isn't today. If we went today, sweet pea, no one would be there. Understand?
Mae: Oh. [Long pause, as we naively assume the conversation is over.] So, we go tomorrow?
We even tried creating a little Post-It note count-down book. It hasn't helped much.
Besides being an excellent practice in patience - for all of us - Mae's passion got me thinking about reverence and God. You see, by any definition, I revere my daughter: I am in awe of her; I am grateful for her; and if diapers and potty training and (generally) healthy meals and 2a.m. back rubs are any indication, I am deeply devoted to her. But, Mae, she doesn't really care. She will someday - by the way, thanks again, Mom - but right now, day-to-day, when she looks in my eyes, all she wants to know is: Do you care about the things I care about? Do you see me? Do you want today to be Ryan's birthday party as much as I do?
Because the thing is: When someone shares with you her passion for Ryan's birthday party - or art or sustainable farming or football or anything else - he doesn't want you to revere him for it, she wants you to also be passionate about it. In fact, this someone, she doesn't much care whether it was her voice that sparked your interest or not - or even if it was, whether you give him credit for doing so. Because, in the end, being really passionate about something, truly loving it, means the only thing that matters to you is that others love it too.
Perhaps, it is the same with God.