Thou carest more
Do you want nothing but the best? If so, George MacDonald tells us exactly how to get it. My comments follow his sonnet.
Thou carest more for that which I call mine,
In same sort—better manner than I could,
Even if I knew creation’s ends divine,
Rousing in me this vague desire of good.
Thou art more to me than my desires’ whole brood;
Thou art the only person, and I cry
Unto the Father I of this my I.
George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Augsburg Fortress Press 1994
How many times have I said I want ‘nothing but the best’? Not just when praying for other people, but when praying for myself.
Not the best car, house, education, children, husband, friends, outcomes or health goals. Though I admit I would like the ‘best possible’ for all of these and more.
No, this is about praying for wisdom, knowledge, discernment, courage, compassion, character, faith, hope and love. Not the best compared with everyone in the whole wide world, but the best I can be as the mortal woman I am. Living with the gifts, graces, personality, aptitudes and body God entrusted to me.
It’s good to pray for the best—nothing but the best. And yet….
- Even if I knew “creation’s ends divine,” and desired to contribute to that end —
- Even if all my “vague” desires for good birthed a zillion good babies —
- Even then my caring wouldn’t begin to hold a candle to what the Creator, my Eternal Parent, the “I of this my I” desires for me and for us.
I’m not out-of-bounds when I pray for ‘nothing but the best.’ Indeed, I’m not wrong even if I show how much I want this by praying for it every day and every moment of my life.
There’s only One, “the only person” whose care for me is infinitely greater than the greatest possible care I could have for myself as God’s child. This is true even if I were a perfect human being—which I am not.
Adam and Eve struggled with this, too, despite all the gifts the Creator gave them. They didn’t understand that the One who created them cared infinitely more for them than they could ever care for themselves. Or for knowledge, wisdom, truth and all the rest of it.
Their caring wasn’t shabby. It was good! It was also limited. A non-negotiable reality of being human. The very point at which they and we are vulnerable.
They didn’t just make a poor choice. They took a shot in the dark. The dark of what they didn’t and couldn’t understand about what they most needed.
God’s care for us is light-years and universes beyond our understanding. All the space in the universe doesn’t begin to contain or display that care. Nor is this about a Being beyond our reach. MacDonald is talking about the Person who is, in fact, the only true person. The only Wise and Gracious God who truly understands us and everything that has anything to do with us.
Without this Gracious God, I would not be I. There is no Other to whom I can turn in the way a child cries out to trusted parents and caregivers.
My task is to keep praying, to keep letting go of futile attempts to make things happen according to my limited vision of what is best for me or for those I love. Not because I don’t care or because I’ve got it all wrong, but because I’m not the One charged with caring fully and truly for me or mine. That isn’t in my job description, no matter what happens along the way from here to there.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 April 2016
Artwork found at jotarofootsteps.blogspot.com
Child Praying with Mother, Basco Light House, Philippines
Ivatan Art, Batanes Yaru Gallery