The lunch time crowd is tough today. The normal silliness and giggles are still there. But they don't want to talk of childish things like most days, only of the mysteries I still haven't nailed down with a certainty I'd be willing to die for.
What will we eat in heaven? Will there be cake? Will there be leaf piles? Cats? Bicycles?
Cats we've been over before. But bicycles? That's a new one.
We reach across the small square table to hold hands, say lunchtime prayers in thanks for the standard fare--a fold over peanut butter, grapes, carrots, and "mommy's salad" (fresh spinach) piled near the puddle of sun dried tomato vinaigrette.
As always, the prayer is loud. Too loud. It's like they're competing, each yelling over the others to make God hear their prayer most.
I sigh, think of Wyatt going to kindergarten in the fall, know it won't take long for some other kid to make him not want to pray so loudly...or pray at all.
"You know, you don't have to yell the prayer for God to hear you. He can hear you when you whisper. He can even hear you when you only think something."
Wyatt dips his carrot and turns my direction, then folds in on himself, head hunched over inches from his plate. "Even when I talk like this?" he asks, voice soft as a whisper.
I smile. It's a game to him, but it's still an acknowledgement that he's listening. "Yes, even then."
I swipe another glob of peanut butter on white bread and take a peek over my shoulder at his silence. His shoulders are hunched forward again, his hand cupped over his mouth, apparently whispering softer than my ears can register.
"What about that?"
"Even then. Mommy may not be able to hear you, but God always can."
I'm the one teaching the lesson here, but the Spirit within helps me hear these self-spoken words as if I were the student.
I don't hear everything, at least not anymore.
Two blue-winged baby monitors with matching halos have perched by my bed for five years, their green lights offering reassurance that even when I slept, my children were only inches away should they need me.
Over the years, I've listened over the intercom to brother whispers after lights out, songs sung in lieu of counting sheep, cries of spiking fever or tummy aches, tears from bad dreams, and the inexplicable sound of someone needing a late night potty run.But with Wyatt now five, and the twins three, the monitors are no longer really necessary. My children are more than loud enough to hear without a monitor. The intercoms are more for my comfort than for them.
Two weeks ago, still unsure, I turned them off. But I left them there by the bedside "just in case." Lights off. Collecting dust.
It seems I need to hear my own teaching--God can hear my children. God is always watching over my children. Even when I cannot.