Sunday, February 20, 2011


Buzz Lightyear was waiting under the Christmas tree for Mister this year, making good on all the Disney promises of boyish wonder one would expect from a guy like Buzz. He has buttons, a laser, wings and a space helmet. He is a shot of courage for a shy kid in a crowded room, a faithful friend, and as of late, a spiritual teacher for Mama. Peanut has absorbed Buzz’s mantra and will randomly stop what she is going to crouch down only to jump up and yell, “Tibinimity and Beyond!”

She jumps from the couch. She jumps from the ottoman. She jumps from the train table, changing table, bottom bunk and top of the stairs. Like Buzz, she can’t actually fly but does not seem concerned since it always seems to work out. As of yet, there have always been arms to catch her. She cannot be concerned with gravity. She is only concerned with the joyful explosion of her muscles and mind, propelling her out into all that is beyond.

I am acutely attuned to her exclamation, as it is has become my unofficial job to spare her the consequences of gravity. And I began to notice this week that as my arms went out to catch the flying baby, my mind was mired, on most of the occasions, by the sticky mud of daily stuff. So I would catch her while replaying a tense conversation with a friend, or thinking about how most of my clothes seem dated, or feeling angry that I will never, ever, ever finish the laundry.

And then it happened: I was sitting down and actually watching her, actually present with my children in spirit, and I saw that she was God’s messenger. At the beginning of each semester I tend to fold in on myself and build a barricade from the outside world with brick after detailed brick: dentist appointments, immunizations, extracurricular activities, travel for work, travel for fun, childcare arrangements for 2012. Pretty soon I can no longer see the sky. Or breathe. But Buzz brought the gospel back to the basement of our house and the heart of my daughter.

Beyond is good. Beyond is real. Christ came near and offers the hope of heaven- which matters now and means that even as I move about in concrete ways, my soul can rest beyond, my gaze can fix on Jesus, the author of my faith. And the mystery of life with Christ is that as I look beyond I somehow see more clearly the things that are close up.

“How great is God—beyond our understanding!” Job 36:26

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