So when I think my children can no longer surprise me with the deep spiritual connections they make, they seem to take it to the next level. Today, Ryan had a practice college application essay as an assignment in his Contemporary Literature/Freshman English class, one of the classes he takes outside of the house this year. He was supposed to discuss something that makes him unique and he was supposed to do it in a way that would stand out to his reader. After all, the college application boards see a LOT of essays. So his teacher wanted them to dig deep to make an impression.
Ryan went at the essay from the standpoint of “balance” and the importance of being well-rounded. He talked about how his academic, athletic, and artistic pursuits all work together to make him who he is and how each endeavor fuels the others. As I read his essay, a passing thought entered my mind, What about serving others, or spiritual devotion? Can you really be “balanced” without that?
His closing brought in a comparison to the Trinity, and how each part of who he is cannot be separated from the other. And while this might have been a bit simplified (and might have gotten him in trouble if he had to defend his analogy with Saint Athanasius?!?), I am amazed to think of how naturally he is able to bring his understanding of theology into play with his everyday life.
After I read his essay, we talked a little more about the Trinity, about how theologians talk about the mutual indwelling, the perichoresis, of the members of the Trinity. Ryan told me that this is just how he sees the different aspects of his own life, dwelling within one another, supporting each other, morphing in and out of focus, ebbing and flowing, advancing and receding. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dancing one with the other in a beautiful God-waltz of creation, redemption, and manifestation.
Ryan didn’t need to list “church” or “service” or “religion” as one of his main life pursuits because, for Ryan, his spiritual life is his core. To work the analogy, it is the Godhead, the “One” of the Three in One. All else finds rest in this whole.
Today, I pray that I may see the world through the eyes of a child, my child, who continues to amaze, and surprise, and, yes, teach me, gazing with wide-eyed humility as the perichoretic dance of the Triune God swirls around us, enfolds us, and lifts us up.