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New Lands: Newsletter of the Australian Marist Community

 

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04/11/2013: Australia

 

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VOL 8: 1 November

I like tuck in time. Anyone with kids I think would say the same. It’s that moment in the day when the night meal is done, the bright colors of pyjamas have paraded from the bathroom, and the kids are in bed. It’s the formal sign off before a glass from the carry over Shiraz from last night can be poured. Each of my three kids has their own ritual for tuck in. Daniel
likes ten flaps of the donna and one for good luck. For Alannah it is the moment where she debriefs the day, usually focusing on the part that had a significant emotional attachment to it, good or bad. For Tess, it is always a book – or two if she can get away with it. There is comfort for each of them in their ritual. Daniel smiles as the one for good luck lands around his neck.
 
Alannah enjoys you lying close as you ride the roller coaster of the encounter with her. Tess loves to smell the pages
of the book as if she commits all of her sense to the story.
 
But something else is common at tuck in time. It is in the comfort of this ritual that their spiritual insight is somehow heightened. Perhaps the same goes for adults as we lift our weary legs into bed and our head rests onto the pillow - a moment of truth about how we have spent the day, the words we have said to others, the decisions we have made, and to what extent we have allowed the Spirit inform our efforts.
 
Certainly for kids it is a spiritually fertile time, which I am convinced goes beyond keeping mum or dad in their clutches for a few more minutes.
 
My father-in-law’s anniversary just passed, he died five years ago. So there has been some chat about Bob, and how we miss him; how he used to cut the vegemite sandwiches into small triangles; and how he loved to change voices according to the characters whenever reading children stories. With this in mind, tuck in time recently provided
two prayers that I am still sitting with. As I walked out of Daniel’s room last week, he called me back and announced, “Dad, you know how people talk about heaven being far away or out there somewhere….well I think it is right here, right next to us.” He was gesturing with his hands, drawing an imaginary boundary just centimeters from his body. It led to an
interesting chat about what we mean by afterlife. Have you recently tried talking to a 10 year old about this! On another night, Alannah asked, “Dad, is God in your heart?” I mumbled something about that being one really helpful way to think about God. Then she asked, “Bob is still in my heart too, isn’t he.” It was a statement, not a question, to which I again mumbled something about people living on in others. As I walked out, Alannah said quietly, “It’s good that Bob and God are together”.
 
My kids have led Kath and I into using tuck in time as a time for prayer. I know that this is a traditional time of prayer as well, but I like the fact that the kids have led us to this space – we have not imposed it on them.
 They have taught us that a ‘review of the day’ is a good way of noting the life encounters where God’s was revealed. They have taught us to savor life, to smile at what is good, and to embrace the inner journey that comes with our bodily beings. It has been a gift.
 
At the AMC Forum held in Mittagong in August, when participants were invited to name what they hope the emerging Marist Association would ask of them or offer them, one of the clear themes articulated was prayer life. There was a thirst for resources to pray with, communities of people to pray with and a connectedness to mission to pray for. People want membership to the Marist Association to tap their spiritual life, to encourage and inspire their sense of vocation and provide a community of like-minded and like-hearted people to celebrate what it is to be Marist.
 
Let’s hope and pray that when the Marist Association comes into being, that this is indeed how it impacts on us, and that in response, we can all step into a new space of shared responsibility for Marist mission.
 
Might I suggest that our own ‘tuck in time’ is a regular place for a simple prayer.

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