Sharing is very hard to do
A three-year-old will pose the most scintillating questions about God, or else will make the most provocative statements about God. Our child is certainly no exception.”Daddy, who is God?” turns out to be a regular question in our house, as do queries about Jesus and King David. No amount of information or ideas can slake this thirst. (Neither would we want to see such a thing happen.) Even a person trained to think and speak theologically can occasionally stumble over his words of explanation. Primarily, though, any notions of belief we try to instill will be empty if they aren’t backed up by our actions. And so, recognizing the great extent to which we fall short of the best examples, we still pray for people and circumstances, give money to the things that matter to us, and keep trying to do good.The one perennial conversation at this stage concerns the issue of sharing. As a parent, the matter for me comes down to one central and inescapable fact: whatever I have, whatever I imagine as belonging to me, is merely something I hold in trust for God, who desires for me to give away the portion of it that I don’t absolutely require.So, a lot of my time as a father is spent in negotiation: Do you really need that? Can you share it? Can you share just a little bit of it? Can you share it for a minute or two?For Gabriel, sharing is “the hardest thing” – worse than a bath, tougher than a nap, more daunting than the longest car trip. Yet it is also one of the most essential things we can ever learn. He physically recoils at the suggestion.”Can you share?””No! No, no, no!””It’s tough, isn’t it?””Yep. Daddy, what’s a fire truck do?”(Oh, and did I mention that my window for teaching is rather narrow at this stage?)Of course, as we teach our children, we remind ourselves about what’s important. Telling Gabriel about sharing is often an indictment of my own behavior and priorities, and of our behavior and priorities as a society and culture.We often reserve the best of life for the most private moments, fearing the vulnerability of what would happen if we shared the things that are most precious to us with others. We fail to pray for our enemies and those who wish us harm, not daring to share a portion of our prayers for the things that make us uncomfortable. We go to sleep with grievance in our hearts, accounts held, rather than confessing our burdens, and thereby sharing them with the one we call Almighty and Merciful. We fail to share our wisdom, our treasure, our talent. These are terrible burdens.Yet each day is a fresh beginning, another shot at being able to share a little more. This is a morning paper; so perhaps today will be the day that you make a start or a real stretch. It’s tough to share, isn’t it? But now’s the time.There is a world in pain that longs to know and use your gift, whatever it is and however you might use it.The Rev. Torey Lightcap is priest-in-charge of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glenwood Springs (www.saint-barnabas.info). Torey and his wife have two children and live in New Castle.
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