Last week, David and I drove down to Bloomington to see our grandson's end-of-the-year preschool program. Eli was lined up with his class when we walked in and the surprise and joy on his face made the hour-plus drive a very small token to pay. He had a gray polo shirt on and right away I noticed his sparkling, blue-gray eyes. They get me every time.
We went out for ice cream after the program and I sat down next to him. He shimmered with sticky delight, his face spilling over in cascades of joy and pleasure as he ate his ice cream cone. But there was one moment in particular that I continue to savor. It was the moment when I looked deep into his eyes and he looked back.
I saw him and he saw me.
For that delicious moment, our hearts kissed. We transmitted love and connection from one to the other. A solitary and poignant moment when I saw him in all his boyish wonder and he saw me in all my grandmotherly adoration.
This isolated frame in my memory symbolizes a deep longing I have when I'm with Eli. I want to touch his soul. I want to see him and I want him to see me--to see the love I have for him that shows up so clearly and unmistakably on my face.
I remember wanting the same thing with my kids when they were little. I recall being conscious each day of seeking out a moment when I made eye contact with them and received eye contact in return. Somehow I knew that it was through looking into our eyes that the bond of our connection was formed.
I've reflected on this experience with Eli for a few days now. I'm still smitten by the memory of his amazing blue-gray eyes. And this memory has been a reminder to me of real prayer.
Prayer for me is just like this: seeing God as God sees me. Real prayer is the moment when I purpose to gaze into the face of God and see him with spiritual eyes. It's the sensation of being seen by him in return; all of me, my goodness and un-loveliness co-mingled.
In this tender, bonding moment I know that God loves me as I am. Our hearts kiss.
I believe that the same desire in me that searches out Eli's face to gaze into his eyes and see him is the same desire that moves God toward me and me toward God in prayer.