I am trying to do a centering practice, but I am home alone with the children and they are bickering, so I give them each a large piece of tin foil and a small paint brush. I tell them to draw on the foil with the wrong end of the brush, then they can paint what they draw. They are excited, this is new. I believe I will have a window of time to focus on my inner work.
Chiqui comes crying. The back end of the brush breaks through the foil, just when he’s invested enough in his drawing to really care that it won’t work. I breathe deep and give him new foil, recommend a gentler hand. I settle myself before my altar to do my work.
Less than two minutes pass. Golondrina comes to call me, it happened again and Chiqui is crying. He is really frustrated, seething. I breathe deep and go for Chiqui. I hold him in my lap, both of us breathing and releasing. I feel the yearning for perfection, his yearning, and mine.
“Chiqui,” I say, “I am going to tell you a secret. It’s an important secret about life. When things just don’t seem to work out and I am feeling really frustrated, I remind myself that I know they are happening for a good reason. And if I can figure out how it is that they are here to help me, I can actually find a way to feel good about them.”
Even though every day I pray to parent my children’s soul, I have no illusions as I say this to him. Words, in matters of the spirit, can often be meaningless.
But Chiqui and I look at the foil together, and we look at the tear. And the light from the window behind it filters through, catching our eye. We move the foil further up, purposely in front of the window. We reflect together: maybe the tears are meant to be part of the design. Maybe the foil is to be hung at the window and the slits will sparkle and illuminate the space for us.
Chiqui leaves, happy again, with the torn foil in his hand, to finish his work. And I, I am deeply grateful for this centering practice in good company.