“Why, big boy,” I forlornly asked, “Are you weeping? Daddy is carrying you!”
To cover myself with his mother whom I earnestly wanted to believe I was not neglected our youngest charge, I loudly repeated, “I AM carrying you. What else do you want?”
“I need mommy, Daddy, I need mommy,” Peter exclaimed.
Now, these are sublime words to my quickly tiring arms, but, Peter knew, as I knew, that my wife, his “mommy,” was not above implementing a needed maturity lesson, even on a three year. So I persevered.
With ear shot of my lovely wife, Karen, I subtly but loudly quipped, “Why mommy? Daddy is carrying you just fine, right?”
“No, Daddy, I so tired that I need Mommy.”
Well, that was that. I gratefully handed him to my wife and Peter proceeded to tell her about his woes.
“I am tired mommy. “
“My feet hurt.”
What the heck? I took care of those things for him. But I was missing the larger point . . .
His mommy listened to him and hugged him. That is all. I did that too. But Peter needed was empathy and love from him mommy.
Peter reached a point where he needed his mommy. Period. Daddies are ok but the really serious hurts require the mommies–at least in my family. ; And it wasn’t just that Peter wanted to be carried; he needed to share his journey with someone who cared and, if need be, someone who would kiss a boo boo or two. His journey had carried him from comfortable epistemology to uncomfortable metaphysics, a need for empathy, a need for revelation of the nature of being and beings, existence, time and space, and causality and he preferred his mother as a traveling companion on the latter leg of this summer morning journey.
Which is one reason I look forward to going to church every week. I want to be with my church family. I want to be with people of faith whose world views extend beyond their epistemology. My epistemology—everyday struggles and challenges—can only take me so far. And in Church I find again my way to the Cross.
I have walked all week to the beach and now I need my church family to help me a little. Lifting my hands in praise and adoration of a God who extends beyond my experience, I relish every praise song, every biblical truth. Out of the fog of doubt and tentativeness, I find in my little mountain church, people who can carry me the last 100 yards, who let me be myself, and love me anyway. They let me tell them the woes of the journey so they can remind me of the joy of the journey. And, ultimately, we always make it safely to the beach, together!