It used to work perfectly.
During Mass, I could always count on Cheerios to distract my son for at least 10 minutes—an ideal homily activity! While the priest spoke, he would casually take Cheerios from my palm, one-by-one, and plop them in his mouth.
Crunch crunch crunch
He would examine every inch—er, millimeter—of each individual Cheerio. Then plop. One Cheerio at a time.
Then he got smart.
The light bulb went off and he suddenly said (although he can’t talk), “Heck with this!”
During a recent Mass, I offered him a palm of Cheerios, as usual. Seconds later, I looked down. They were all gone.
How could this be?! The distinct sound of Cheerios hitting the floor and rolling three pews ahead is unmistakable to any parent—and in this instance, there was only one sound.
Crunch crunch crunch.
I could see it in his eyes…and in his mouth. Eli realized for the first time that he could aggressively consume Cheerios by the fistful. And as soon as one fist-worth was gone, he knew mom and dad would provide more. We went through a cup and half of Cheerios that Mass. In four minutes.
Who can blame him? He suddenly came to understand his power; his ability to achieve more, to do better. He happily left his simple, one-Cheerio-at-a-time life behind.
As all parents do, I hyper-analyzed my son’s Cheerio consumption habits and compared it to natural human behavior.
Once upon a time, life was simple. Don’t we oftentimes feel that way—like we’ve left a simpler life behind? Then someone shoved a bunch of Cheerios in our faces and we realized we could (and perhaps
) take on so much more than we originally thought.
There are millions of options regarding how we can live our lives. Some options are propositions from God, while others have evil roots. Some deserve great attention and discernment, others should be quick decisions.
Sometimes God nudges us forward toward grand things. Other times he beckons us back toward simplicity. Sometimes He does both at the same time.
For me, the lesson is simple: Don’t be afraid to grab lots of Cheerios—just make sure God gave them to you. It’s so easy to exclude God when making the “big decisions” in life. Make time to listen to Him, not expecting signs, but following what brings peace to your heart.
Jesus said that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must become like little children…one Cheerio at a time.
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