Yesterday afternoon, I got the privilege of going on a long walk with Riley and my oldest son.
Unlike most of our weekday afternoon walks, this one was not rushed. We had time. Riley also was seemingly not rushed – he was sniffing every inch of the ground as we went. He also paused frequently to see if he could make friends with cars and people and dogs passing by.
He had no timetable.
My oldest walked a few feet behind me and Riley. He was so quiet that I felt I had to engage him to make sure he was okay. I’m so used to walking with my twins who are nonstop chatterboxes… so his quiet at first was disconcerting.
To break the silence, I’d shoot a question his way occasionally and get no response. Then I’d remember I was facing away from him and speaking into the wind. So, I’d turn, get his attention, and ask again. “So beautiful weather isn’t it?” I’d ask. “Yep,” he’d respond. Ok… “Did you have a fun morning with Dad?”… “Fun? I guess.”
Eventually I let the questions go, and we settled into a rhythm. My feet and his feet and Riley’s paws clicking down the sidewalk to home.
Sometimes the contrast of one person’s personality and another is so strong that I feel I have to do something to bring them more in line. It’s a subconscious reaction, really.
His brothers are always talking, and he often is not… so I feel the need to constantly engage to even the score. After all, he should have the same airtime as them. After all, I want to know him and hear his thoughts.
But over and over again he reminds me that he loves the quiet. He is perfectly fine taking a walk where he can just breathe in the flowers and watch the birds and get lost in his thoughts under the warmth of the afternoon sun.
And really, can’t I get to know him through these interactions too?
He doesn’t always need words.
And neither does God.
Everyday God quietly shows us the brilliance of creation and invites us to breathe it in.
Maybe my son doesn’t have to change… just the depth with which I see him.
“I don’t ask for the sights in front of me to change, only the depths of my seeing.”