There is this thing I try every so often with my kids. When I can see that they are on the verge of fighting with each other, or when they are in the middle of fighting, I call one of them to come to me. Rather than give them something to stop, I want to give them something to do. I want them to come to me. I want to give them a hug, talk it over, cuddle. I want to have a moment together that diffuses the conflict going on around them.
It usually doesn't work. They are too engaged in their anger, invested in winning this meaningless fight, to want to come and be with me for a moment. Which saddens me. I then have to discipline where I would rather comfort and guide.
Sometimes it also puts me in mind of all of those passages in the Old Testament where God is saying, over and over, "Come back to me. Didn't I raise you? Didn't I nurse you? Didn't I stay by your side and walk you through the wilderness? Didn't I save you time and time again? Yet you persist in this selfish, foolish behavior. You don't take care of the poor, or each other, and you are running off after everything else that you think will make you happy. Even though it's stupid. What am I going to do with you?"
Other times it makes me think of all the times it seems God is saying the same thing to me. When I am weary and worried and upset over things he says, "Come away. Come and spend a little time with me."
But I don't. I stay where I am. Worrying about the dirty floors and the ways that I am failing.
Slowly I'm learning, one day at a time, to let it all go, to walk away and spend a little time in the loving arms of my father. To be restored.
Maybe someday my children will learn the same.