The Presence of Christ is everywhere: even at our suburban swim club. Tuesday afternoon, my husband and I laid in lounge chairs in the shade beside the pool. Several yards away, a mother spoke quietly with her son, while her three other children waited beside us. I have come to know these children a bit during my daily visits to the pool this summer. "He has a time out," the six year old explained to us. "C. woke us up from our naps when he was told not to. The five year old piped in: "I couldn't get back to sleep."
Later, the nap interrupter sat in the shade, his plastic chair facing away from the pool while his mother played in the water with her three other children. Occasionally, he turned his head to watch the rest of his family playing in the pool.
Now this is good parenting: giving children consequences when they don't obey. C. was told Monday before the naps not to wake any of his siblings. He woke them anyway. Tuesday his mom told him again and told him there would be no swimming for him if he didn't listen. He went ahead and woke one of his brothers.
What moved me even more than a mom doing an excellent job raising her children is the fact that this boy, along with the one who was awakened from his nap, are not her biological children. R. and her husband are foster parents to two of the children, who have been living with them for a year. The family doesn't know when - or if - the state will say the boys will return to their biological parents.
Truly nothing is "in it for her" in terms of teaching these boys how to behave, how to be in the world, how to be human beings. R. likely will never know the full results of her efforts, of these moments at the pool or all the innumerable moments she is spending parenting two boys along with her own son and daughter.
The love she shows comes from another source, from the Other who named us all before we were conceived.
Father Julian Carrón, who leads the Communion and Liberation movement of which I am a part, tells us:
Everything becomes sign. In the history of a great love, everything becomes sign. . . Christ is not a fact of the past. Christ is something that is happening to me now...when we run into certain people because, in staying with them, all our sleepy humanity is reawakened, all our capacity for desire, all the desire for fullness that often we have already rejected, skeptically.. Only if we find ourselves before people in whom we can touch with our hand that Christ is happening now (so far is it from anything imagined, so far from any thought), can we recognize Him as contemporary."