For the past six months our family has enjoyed the presence of two foster children, brothers aged 2 and 4 when they arrived. They thrive on routine. One of our routines is that Robin and I take turns staying with them in their room for a while after bedtime. The younger brother is particularly fond of sitting with Robin in the rocking chair then, and so every night, and sometimes well before bedtime, he is heard asking "Mama rock?"
When I take the after bedtime shift they are asked if they want to rock with Papa or go to bed. Without fail the younger one will say "Go bed" and climb into the bottom bunk while his brother climbs into the bed above.
Monday nights Robin is almost always gone, so on Monday the entire bedtime routine of baths, reading stories and the Bible, praying, and then tucking-in falls to me. "Rock with Papa?" "Go bed" replies the younger boy, while his brother chose to rock. The younger boy copies his brother at almost every opportunity and I asked again if he wanted to rock. He giggled and pulled his covers over his head and so I turned off the light and took the older brother onto my lap in the rocking chair.
He was quiet as the chair moved back-and-forth and pretty soon I was fairly sure he was asleep. This week is a very full one, with all of the usual things, plus an overnight trip for our family on Friday, a marathon for me on Saturday, and then a birthday party for one of the boys on Sunday.
I was sitting in the rocking chair, wondering when to put the boy into bed, thinking about studying for my sermon, or writing notes for the talk I'm giving Friday night. Or…
Or…realize that what I was doing at that very moment was the perfect opportunity for me to doing only one other thing at that moment. And that was to pray.
Pray for the boy. Pray for his brother. Pray over the situation in their family, and for our family to continue to provide them with safety, security and love for as long as they'll be with us.
The demand of the next thing can often be so urgent and insistent. Today I remain glad for the opportunity last night to just stay in that moment for a while, knowing that it was the exact place God had for me to be.