Friday, January 22, 2010

30 Days of Touching

Day 15: Hand to Mouth

I spent the day babysitting Eli, my four-month-old grandson. It’s been a couple of weeks since we had him all to ourselves. David and I couldn’t get over how much he had grown and progressed. From routinely rolling over to grasping at things with accurate eye-hand coordination, we marveled over him.

One thing I noticed repeatedly is his instinct to put everything in his mouth. From his own fist, to mine, to toys that we gave him—all became fodder for exploration with the use of his mouth. Babies don’t just touch with their hands. They use their mouths to feel, taste and discover.

I watched him passionately mouth a teething ring hanging from his pumpkin seat. The spoon I used to feed him cereal became an instrument of great interest to his tongue. His fist followed, jawing it like it was his last meal.

When do we become so inhibited that we no longer use our mouths to touch and explore? At what age do we stop this intimate form of discovery? Is it when our mothers tell us not put things in our mouth because of germs? Or is it when we become self-conscious, worried what others might think as we gnaw on something we find intriguing.

Eli’s earnestness to take everything he found and put it in his mouth amused me. He showed me what it looks like to have a zeal for touching and knowing what ever I find. He made me wish I were not so careful and could lose myself in the curiosity of discovering something new.

Questions for spiritual direction:
What did I touch today that I am curious to know more fully?
What inhibits me from exploring the world around me?
How is God inviting me to get to know Him more intimately?
What untapped abilities do I possess that help me investigate my life?

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