“Who you are before God, that you are and no more”
– St Francis of Assisi
And no less. Therefore, love one another deeply from the heart. Judge no one. Pay no attention to position or wealth, to race or religion, to male and female. But serve one another humbly, for Christ has washed you.
We were at a park yesterday; we picnicked and then played. It's a nice park and is always busy. It has a carousel and a train ride, some animals and other activities for kids. The park also has three play areas. The first area is wide open. The second play area - the area for the littlest ones - is completely fenced in except for where we sit to watch them play. The third, bordering the second, is for bigger kids and is completely fenced in just as the second one. Except the third play area has an open gate in the back that leads to the bathrooms and the parking lot.
So my wife and I were watching them and talking while she held Baby Jack. A young couple were standing nearby watching their two and the man began smoking. He was upwind of me, my wife, and our new baby. He eventually moved on. And when he did, I made some acerbic comments to my wife about how frustrated it made me when people lit up in public areas around children. A few exchanges and judgments of their parental abilities later, we were on to another topic.
We would occasionally do a spot check and count the four pirates we call children. The last spot check produced the three girls, but not the boy. I got up to walk the length of the area, but was unable to find him anywhere among all the slides and ladders and chaotic equipment. I walked by the second play area. My wife was up and looking by this time as well. Unable to spot him in the second or third play areas, the areas we had been monitoring, I went out the back gate near the bathrooms and parking lot and began praying as I walked toward the first play area. Will was nowhere. I tried to remain calm, and I continued to pray. I decided to walk over to the carousel and train - Will loves choo-choos. I was quite anxious by the time I got over to that end of the park, and kept looking back toward the bathrooms and the parking lot as long as I could. Soon, the trees blocked my view. I rounded the carousel and saw a park employee standing near a bench with a family. It looked like Will's head from a distance, and two fingers were shoved into the boy's mouth. As I got closer, I realized it was Will and my heart began beating normally again. The park employee looked up and caught my eye.
"Yes," I said, breathing with ease again.
"This family found him. He was pretty shaken up." And there Will sat on the lap of the man, of all the people in the park that day, that I had so quickly judged. Though I had not known it, they were the most beautiful family in the park. We chatted briefly and I thanked them profusely.
God is funny. And I, I can do nothing better than to be silent before Him. To clap my hands over my mouth and to work, with the help of His grace, to say less and to love more.