The best part of my weekday mornings are walking my daughter to daycare. It’s a long enough walk (Madison Avenue to Second Avenue) where I get to enjoy watching the happenings in the neighborhood. Best of all, I get to watch my daughter watching the happenings in the neighborhood.
We have one of those strollers that can do just about anything. (It actually cost us more than I paid for my first car). It can be configured a bunch of different ways so that your kiddo can sit facing you as you walk or facing away.
I read somewhere in a parenting article that at Elise’s age it’s best to have her face away from me when walking her. It allows her to develop more visually and spatially.
I love watching her watch the city. She doesn’t know that I am watching from behind, but nothing can compare to watching her face light up when we pass someone walking a dog, or when a giant bus passes us on the street. Her eyes fill with wonder as if she’s seeing things for the first time.
But sometimes (as all babies do) when I buckle her into the stroller and we start walking in the morning, she has her “panic” moments. This happens when I start pushing the stroller and I, all of the sudden am out of her line of sight. I can see Elise but she can’t see me- and her face contorts, and she cries because she thinks I’ve left her all alone in the middle of Midtown Manhattan -but really, I’m right there, close by, just inches behind her watching her develop as she watches the world (even if she’s a bit freaked out momentarily).
I think this is how our relationship with God is much of the time when we feel like he is absent. It just feels that way, but it’s not actually that way. After all- how can anything that is omnipresnet ever be out of reach?
The truth is that God understands (even better than we do) that our development as people often depends on us looking outward at our lives as they are, instead of just staring inward at the face of our Father.
This is grace. God turns the seat of the stroller around for our development - not to “panic” us. He never leaves. He’s right there, observing us observing the scenery… scenery that we need to see, observe, and ingest in order to develop into what we deeply long to be… well-rounded beings.