As many of you know, I’ve been on a daily practice of meditation and prayer, and my life has begun to shift. (If you read any of my blogs from the disastrous years of 2010 and 2011, you know I’ve come a long way. Faith was my only way out of darkness.)
My seven year old, Evan, has walked in on my practice on a few occasions. “What are you doing?” he’d ask.
Meditating,” I’d say.
“That looks boring…” he’d say.
I pray for my children every night. My two oldest are on their own paths to faith, unsure, maybe a little bit cynical, as I was when I was raising them. But Evan came along at a time when I am stronger in my faith. And what exactly is my faith, you might wonder? I have faith that there is a grand intelligence that created a world so perfect and full of beauty and wonder that I could never squash it into a simple definition with my feeble human brain. I know that it cannot be encapsulated completely by a book, or words. I know it is something you must discover in your own heart, in your own way. I know there have been times when I was saved from certain disaster, times when I was lifted above the abyss. I know that we survived being asleep in a burning house while poisoned with carbon monoxide. And I’ve lived long enough to know that my prayers are eventually answered in unexpected ways.
The other night, as I was praying for Evan, I decided instead to pray with Evan. I knelt next to his bed.
“What are you doing?” he whispered.
“I’m praying for your health and happiness and safety,” I said.
“How do you do it?”
“You talk to God in the language of your own heart, and if there is something you need help with, you ask.”
“I want to ask something,” he said, and then he proceeded with this prayer: “Dear God, I want to know if you are real so please send me a message. If you are real, drop a hat out of the sky and let it land on my front porch.”
“Hmm…that might be a little tough,” I said, “because hats don’t fall out of the sky so you’re asking for a pretty big miracle.”
“Well, how about a flower, then? If you are real God, please put a flower on the porch by 7:30 am so I can see it before I leave for school. You should be able to do that because you make flowers.”
Not wanting to interfere with his prayer process, I smiled and kissed Evan good night. Before I walked away I added, “God doesn’t always answer our prayers in exactly the way we want, and not always when we want…just so you know.”
I then vacillated about whether I should go outside in my bathrobe, pick a flower and leave it on the porch. I didn’t want him to be disappointed in the morning (Oh me of little faith). Eventually I decided not to interfere.
The next morning I was sitting on my bed reading. The cat budged my bedroom curtains open to watch the birds outside, and that was when I saw something yellow out of my peripheral vision. I got up to investigate. There was a yellow daisy laying on our deck. It was 7:22 am.
“Evan! Come here, quick! You have to see this!”
Evan stepped out onto the deck and scooped the yellow daisy up. He started jumping up and down, “He’s real! He’s real! I can’t believe it, God is real!” (Oh little he with faith)
My eyes filled with tears for this tiny miracle. Not only was it a flower, it was one of the silk daisies we’d used to decorate for Taylor and Aya’s wedding three and a half years ago, and just as Aya and Ayumu are about to come back to the U.S. Where had it come from?
So, is God real, or is this just a coincidence? Each of us has to decide. Each of us will struggle with faith through the blessings and hardships in our own lives, and I know Evan is no exception. He will have his good days and his bad. If he is anything like me he’ll have moments where he loses faith completely, and will have to fight hard to gain it back. But he will always have this sweet little story…of a yellow daisy that dropped from the sky and landed on his porch before 7:30am.
Maybe I should have let him stick with the hat request.
(Oh me of little faith…)