A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping at my local supermarket when I found myself next to a young mother pushing a baby carriage. I noticed that she was leaning on the large handle of the carriage and was bending down as close to her infant’s face as she could be and with a radiant smile was saying something to her in soft and tender tones.
The baby responded with a smile that went from ear to ear accompanied by random motions of her tiny limbs expressing, I judged, pure, ecstatic joy.
It was a moment of indescribable beauty and love that I know I’ll remember for a long, long time.
As I continued my walk toward my next purchase, I suddenly stopped and said to myself, “Wait. Go back. You can’t allow that happening to go unacknowledged.” And so I did.
As I approached them, the mother seemed for a moment to be a bit startled by my appearance. The thought occurred to me that, since I was attired in light summer wear, she may have thought I was a store manager about to correct her for some infraction of the local laws. So I quickly said, “Excuse my intrusion, but I must tell you that I am certain I’ll see nothing more beautiful today than your inspiring exchange with this baby that I just happened to witness.”
She thanked me graciously, to which I said, “No, no. It’s I who must thank you. I cannot think of anything this world needs more than what you are giving to your child. Imagine what life would be like on this planet if every person had such a start.”
In the hours and days that followed, the memory of that incident recurred frequently, revealing to me that it contained another dimension that must not be overlooked: the presence of God! St. John said that God is love and that whoever lives in love lives in God. We need frequently to be reminded of that phenomenon: that any manifestation of genuine love is at the same time a revelation of the mysterious reality that we call God.
My mother was a voracious reader; among the publications she received, her favorite was the National Geographic, which we four kids also very much enjoyed, of course. How often did she say, as she was viewing a photo of one of nature’s “miracles,” like maybe a bird doing something spectacular in the care of its young, “Look at this, children: isn’t God wonderful?”
God’s presence is everywhere. We have only to pay attention to perceive and enjoy it, to be inspired and strengthened by it. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be so distracted and absorbed by the busyness of life around and within us that we cannot perceive and connect with Love that is so much to our benefit and joy.
I wish you peace!