Today I share with you a blog post-prayer from the Rev. Parisa Parsa, who writes the wonderful new Unitarian Universalist blog, “pastor prayers.” Rev. Parsa serves the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Milton, Massachusetts, and offers a lovely reflection on parenting small children and on getting along with other humans in this world of ours in general:
“When We All Have Something to Learn”
by Rev. Parisa Parsa
posted on “pastor prayers” on July 14, 2007
God of the in-between territory, where human needs converge and sometimes clash, guide me through these tender times.
I’ve reluctantly gotten used to the referee role of parenting, mediating disputes over sharing and hitting, tattling and bad words. I already pray daily not to be too shrill, and not to be too indulgent, and not to say things that will come back and bite me when my son tries to apply the same rules to me, and generally not to screw my child up any more than is necessary. But now we’re in the emotional zone that takes it to the next level. We’re into the disputes in which no one is wrong, but the clash of differing needs can be devastating.
One child wants a hug and another doesn’t like to be hugged. One child needs quiet when another wants to have a conversation. One is feeling gregarious and goofy when another wants to concentrate. They happen to be getting together to play when any of these things occur, and the tears and anger are like every volcano in the world erupting at once while the deadliest tsunami and the most forceful hurricane batter our shores. Help me to know how best to communicate your love for each child and their bodily desires. Let me honor their need to be cared for and help them know their friend cares for them even if they don’t understand how to show it. Help me to convey in ways a four year old can understand that no one is bad for having another need, and that when we care about someone we can allow space without judgment. And we learn to share, when things are a little less hectic, what was happening for us, so that we may know each other better and thereby honor each others’ humanity.
I know it takes a whole lot more words and understanding than an upset four year old can muster. I still want to offer the clues now so when the mind is ready to get it, it will not seem like a stretch to believe: Sometimes no one is wrong. We’re all beloved. What we need is what we need and our job is just to communicate it respectfully, lovingly to the people we care about. Because that’s where we get to know you best, god, when we take those risks and learn how you’re present in the mysterious other.
I pray this earnestly, and wish I could be hilarious and clever about it. Most of the time I’m pretty tired, and a little harried, and far short of possessing the patience it all takes. As I watch this unfold daily for my son I see nothing short of a glimpse into the lesson the world of humanity needs to learn, and needs to learn desperately. If we can get it well, if we can start to get it a little more right than we’ve gotten it all this time, there’s this glimmer of peace that’s visible for our world. My yearning for it brings me to tears.
God on the narrow bridge between I and thou, help me follow that yearning, and hold on to hope, and offer examples of forgiveness, and kindness, and your eternal embrace to the people (little or big) in my care, for life or just for a day. Amen.
Source: “When We All Have Something to Learn,” by Rev. Parisa Parsa, minister of the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Milton, Massachusetts, posted on pastor prayers, July 14, 2007
posted with permission from the authorTags: children, hope, parenting, Parisa Parsa, peace, prayer, sharing, yearning