David Sretenovic retells a story of a moment which revealed something beautiful about how his toddler-son was growing to handle conflict.
Some moments of truth just take your breath away — especially when it’s your toddler’s personality which is being revealed. There have been moments when my two-year-old son’s expression of frustration has made me wonder how he will handle conflicts; some kids cower, others lash out, some have the knack to stand their ground. With Jet, I’ve seen much more of the latter two. But today was a wow-moment: I saw something which impressed me and truly made my heart burst.
Taking some time to be with my Aunty Maria at a local cafe, we’d unleashed Jet and his elder sister on the indoor children’s playground. It’s a veritable wonderland for kids, and there were dozens of them racing around and playing, ranging from rug-rats to primary school aged. At one stage Jet was manning the toy cash-register at a mock restaurant when a much older and bigger kid — literally almost double his size — joined him and helped himself to Jet’s operation. Jet wasn’t too happy with this and redirected the boy’s hands. The boy persisted in reaching for the controls but Jet pushed his hands away again. This happened a couple more times with Jet verbalising, “No!” to no avail. He even tried moving the boy away with gentle nudges to the chest. At the point of near exasperation, Jet turned to face him. He stretched both his hands out, as wide as he could, and looked at the boy earnestly as he hugged him with tender vigor. Having pacified the situation and given up the cash register, Jet happily rounded to the other side of the boy while motioning towards the other play-equipment. He was moving that way but had to halt as he realized his new mate wasn’t in tow. He turned and called out, “Come me! Come!” whilst beckoning him with his little waving hand. Despite his pleas, the new friend wasn’t coming, so he ran off to play anyway. He’d already forgotten about the cash-register because the ball-pit was calling.
My Aunty Maria had also witnessed the little altercation and she remarked, “Wow, he’s so resourceful! He tried one way and it didn’t work, so he tried another way. Beautiful boy.”
My precious little boy — what a winner you are! God bless you, my son, and may your generous heart and caring spirit blossom as you grow, in Jesus’ name. These are the gifts of God’s Spirit in you!
David Sretenovic shares a poem inspired by time with his daughter, and reflects on the stepping stones of her growth into his family faith.
Earlier in the week I captured a special moment with my daughter Andje [AHN-jee], who is now three and a half years of age, in a poem. The picture attached is similar to the view I had as she sat on my lap outside 🙂 .
Rain, Snuggles and Tears
You sit on my lap wrapped in your special blanket
We breathe the rain-soaked air and feel the fresh breeze
You snuggle up and smile because you just love to
I hear your voice uttering unfiltered delights
You describe the world around and the world inside your heart
Every idea is magic to me
And just as I see the lines of your pure little cheeks
I see that you will need me to teach you as you grow
But if I am gone before that time
I know God will
The tears they come and fill my heart like the rain
Tears of joy for you, my beautiful daughter
This week has in fact been special: I’ve seen my daughter grow in beautiful ways. Little milestones of independence such as dressing herself and cleaning up spontaneously, next-level manners, and for the first time actively clarifying alphabet letters for her name and others’. And today as we were reading some kids Bible stories, she consciously engaged as never before with the events of Christmas and Jesus’ life story: I saw pennies dropping like a poker machine payout. It was a precious moment, because images from Christmas, Easter, and other New Testament events are so dear to our psyche as a family and our extended Christian community. She was partaking of our faith in a new way. These are moments I’ve been anticipating with joy: sharing with her the hope which the gospel gives to us and the whole universe — and not just potential hope, as some factions of Christendom offer, to “the elect” or to “those who say the correct prayer”. It was a thrill for me to share with her our faith, and to inspire a hope-filled outlook as she faces both life today and also the sadness of death. I was amazed at the hope I heard in my own voice – it was real! By telling her what I believe, my heart and voice communicated hope. And in time, because I have shared my faith, she too will have an opportunity to believe what I do … but regardless of her future choices, I believe I have already instilled a sense of hope into her spirit, something beyond words and intellectual understanding. I do believe this.
What joy my daughter brings. Thank you, Heavenly Father!
“Expletive Dirty Gospel” — a poem expressing David Sretenovic’s take on good and evil. [Video and lyrics only].
The gospel is the best thing I know, full stop. It inspires art because art has that divine quality which allows us to convey the spiritual realities we experience via faith. Here’s a poem which explains my way of making sense of this crazy world, and the optimism which Christ has birthed in me. It’s called Expletive Dirty Gospel [Video link and lyrics below].
Expletive Dirty Gospel (a poem)
I could use an expletive to portray my emotion; And you can bet your ass I will on the right occasion; It’s really not my style but I do sense the freedom; in my cut-loose religion of personal validation; Not the type of faith that is sans the supernatural; just a set of righteous rules, plus a heavy hymnal; Of course that’s cool if you worship that way; But let me shine a little light on how my gospel brothers pray; Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; And now we art on earth because artistry is your game
I’ve discovered the craft of prayer; no longer asking “Which craft?”; since sailing to safety on my prayer-life raft; It’s the crafting of stillness; where you become the clay; which cannot tell the potter how to mold it today; It’s the craft of learning who and what we are; those two raw elements, earth and water; No wonder I sometimes get bogged in the miry clay; I’m formed from mud and will return one day; It’s a murky mess which mirrors my soul; a soily personality part good part evil
When God shaped man from the dust of the earth; he was the very first potter at work; And this divine artist truly knew his trade; a creature capable of care and corruption he made; Good and evil, water and sand; why oh why – I didn’t understand; Until I stopped, and took his hand; And he opened my eyes to what he had planned; “Dust and water,” He said, “You are”; “so both good and evil you will discover, But only one will win in the end; no angel or man can stop what I intend; All will be as I planned it would; Otherwise I lied when I said ‘It is good.’”
—By David Sretenovic, November 2016