Jack and I had trouble leaving the beach on this summer-like day perfect for wading. Strolling Lake Michigan’s wave line, I found 9 pieces of beach glass and an abundance of “Indian beads.” The water was smooth with gentle inch-high mini-waves tickling the sand, sparkling with sunshine. I looked up at several jet-stream clouds in a blue sky and thanked God I wasn’t on an airplane moving away from where I stood, pretty stones in my pocket, feet in the water.
Searching for a reason to stay, I decided to skip a few stones, hoping to break my record (though I couldn’t remember what that was). Side-arming flat rocks close to the water, it was fun hunting for good skippers: flat on both sides, thin, not too lightweight, rounded edges. How many thousands of stones had I skipped into this lake? I remember the day Dad taught Mary and me to do it, captivating us with his successful demo (though we didn’t care much about his talk of trajectories and angles).
I also remember teaching our first two boys to skip stones. They took to it immediately as most kids do, flinging rocks into the water like baseball machines fling balls into a batting cage. They’d shout for our attention. “Mom! Papa! Watch this!”
When a stone didn’t skip as they’d hoped, they’d yell again. “That wasn’t a good one! Watch this one! Are you watching?”
Every parent hears this oft-repeated refrain from their kids. “Watch me! Watch me!” We hear it so often it can drive us loony, pulling us from other conversations or thoughts of our own. “Look at me!”
In a way, though, we adults do the same thing. We walk through life wanting to be noticed, and more specifically, appreciated. If we’re skipping along well, we want others to see. If we’re sinking, we want others to care. We don’t shout it to a crowd like children do, but we pray it out to God in private. “Lord, do you see the injustice coming at me here? Are you aware of this other trauma unfolding in my life? Have you looked at my stress level? Examined my pain? Observed my heartache? Are you watching?”
Thankfully his answer to all of the above is a resounding, “Yes!” Although parents become irritated with too many “watch me’s” from their children, God’s patience is bottomless, limitless, boundless. It’s watertight.
He sees us every minute of every day… and night. And unlike weary parents who sometimes look over at their kids just to stop the “watch me’s” from continuing, God watches with genuine interest and sincere compassion each minute that he’s looking at us.
In other words, always.
By the way, the best skipper I had today was only 6, but I know God was watching.
“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a)