Cuddle Time

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Two weeks ago my husband and I were up in Rochester to help my son and his wife move to a new apartment. It was a lot of work and we all had our parts to play to make the move happen smoothly and quickly. My job was to cuddle my 4 week old grandson, Kyle.

In theory I could have tucked Kyle in his bassinet and busied myself with the work at hand. But the reality isn’t the same. In the process of packing up to move, there is a lot of bustling around, noise, and disruption of routine. All this can be terribly upsetting to a full grown adult, much less a small child who doesn’t comprehend what’s happening. If we were to get any work done, Kyle needed to be comfortable and quiet. More importantly, he needed the security of feeling loved and cared for even when the world about him was turning upside down. So I sat in a quiet corner and held him close while he napped.

In today’s Gospel we hear the words of Jesus saying, “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” Now last week we saw how Jesus encourages us to be silent and listen, not always doing. Yet this week it would seem to be the opposite. We are called to action – ask, seek, knock. So which way is it?

When I am silent and reflect on the question, I see that one does not exclude the other. Yes, we must take time to listen to God, not to be so full of ourselves that our conversations are one sided. But we are also directed to respond. Our faith is not to be a passive one, where we just sit back in the pew on Sunday and listen to others. We have to be active with our faith, and that includes actively listening.

So what does this have to do with cuddling my grandchild? Kyle doesn’t take life passively. When he wants something he asks in the way babies do – by fussing and crying. But at the same time, he seeks the answer – the diaper change, the warm milk, the gentle rocking. He is knocking at the door, asking for love, but at the same time he is ready to find the answer. He looks at me with his soulful eyes and studies my face. He listens to my heartbeat as I hold him close, and feels the love pouring out. He quiets to the soft singing.

Christ compares the compassion of God with that of a father answering the requests of his child. Perhaps an equally apt comparison would be that of a grandmother cuddling a baby. Kyle actively asks, then quietly receives. Every one of us needs God’s cuddling, and it’s there waiting for us. First we need to ask, then we must be quiet enough to recognize that we have received from Him.

Linda Crowley