“Who do people say I am?” “Who do you say I am?” (Luke 9:18,20) – the unspoken questions in every child’s mind and heart. “You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22) – the hoped for response in the mind and heart of every child. But a battle rages within and without.
A gift from former students rests on the wall at Plumfield: “One evening by the campfire, an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. The old man said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’
My own thoughts nourish one voice or the other. The voices outside me also feed.
As I write, chirping outside my window nests a baby chickadee waiting longingly for the parent to return to feed its hunger. Ah, the role of the parent. I am feeling annoyed by the bird’s incessant chirping. When will the parent satisfy the bird’s longing? Fill it? Sooth it? Quiet it? The parent chickadee knows instinctively what to do. The parent must have returned, all is quiet, peaceful, need satisfied, joy.
“You are my beloved child, I love you.” The words we most want to hear, to feed the deepest hunger. “I love you. You are lovable, no matter what. Nothing you can say; nothing you can do, will keep me from loving you.” Instinct, truth, peace, joy. The center I desire – love, joy, peace; my home, my place of rest.
Who will save me from the battle which rages within and without? “Only in God is my soul at rest, in Him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:2)
Who will save my child from the battle which rages within and without? Only God, through me, the parent.
What shall I feed my child’s soul? “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (trust) gentleness, self-control, forgiveness.” (Galatians 5:22)
Where will I find this food for my child? As the parent chickadee flies from the nest for the sake of her young, so must I fly to the source of nourishment – to God, in prayer, to be nurtured with the words, “You are my beloved child, in you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) Nothing you have done, nothing you have said or thought can keep me from loving you. I love you, because I love you. (Romans 8:38-39)