Friday, November 28, 2014

My Daughter is Going to Change Everything

My daughter is going to change everything.

Everyday, I read this "To Everything There is a Season" book to her. At her request. It's literally just the scriptures in Ecclesiastes, verbatim -- A time to be born, a time to die... A time to plant, a time to pluck up that which has been planted... A time to mourn, a time to dance... A time to keep silence and a time to speak... Etc. Nothing really mind blowing, no new information. However, this is her favorite book and she's always transfixed.

The illustrations are, for me, what make it great [and allow me to be able to read the same book over and over again, several times a day, without losing my entire mind]. It features art from various time periods, cultures, and countries for each passage. So, for instance, there's a depiction of Egyptian murals done in acrylic paint on three-ply Bristol board, or ink and watercolor on paper depicting Japanese woodblock prints. There's the art of Mexico, Greece, Ethiopia, India, Thailand -- it goes on and on and it's phenomenal. I feel like I'm walking through a museum when I read it. And I love museums.

Anyway, the second to last bit of the book says, "a time of war and a time of peace." The other day, we stopped for a long time on that page and I pointed to everything that was happening on the "war" side and everything that was happening on the "peace side" and I said, "war is bad. Look, they're hurting each other and killing each other. That's not the way it should be. Peace is good. Peace is what we want. See, this is how we should live."

This morning, I read this book to her, perhaps for the thousandth time. When I got to the war and peace page, she sat and stared for a long time. I followed her eyes as she took in every detail, particularly of the "peace" side. The animals, the people, the blue sky, the flowers and trees. She looked and looked and looked. I could see her, thinking. A 14-month-old. In deep concentration. About peace. Then she looked at the "war" side, and though she did take a moment with it, she gave it considerably less attention than "peace".

Then she turned to the final page, which is a big picture of planet Earth with the words, "One generation passes away and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever," underneath. She admired it for a long time. Then she flipped back to the previous page. More attention to "peace". I sat there, observing, careful not to interfere, allowing her to be in the moment. Seriously, this went on for a long time.

Then, finally, she started "reading aloud". My daughter babbled to herself, pointing at and focusing on different details in the "peace" picture. She read, and read, and pontificated, and theorized, and perhaps even prayed. In that moment, I was clear: The greatest honor and blessing that I will ever have is to be her mother. God is with this child. Her ancestors are with her. She gets it all. She understands. She has a purpose. She's here to change everything.

May we all live to see it.