Weaning Moments - Some Thoughts on Psalm 131

Psalm 131

1. O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
My eyes not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2. But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like a weaned child that is with me.
3. O Israel*, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.

One of the greatest struggles of the spiritual life is finding a place of balance between pride and self-deprecation. The human spirit longs to soar and fill itself with grand and glorious exaltation. Yet, our life often brings us face to face with our limitations and shortcomings and we may wonder about our worth. At times, we struggle to know who we are and to know our own value. These feelings of unworthiness and thoughts of self-doubt are difficult to navigate, even in the best of circumstances.

Psalm 131 speaks to the space between pride and self-doubt, the place of humility. The psalmist speaks of a spirit that is balanced and at peace. The image of the weaned child offers a message of contentment and security. Ponder that analogy. Do we reach weaning moments, times when we have to let go of one understanding and perception in favor of something more mature? How do we travel through such letting go times?

I am reminded of the phrase that says, “It is not who you are, but whose you are that counts.” For all of its simplicity, these words remind us that ultimately our worth is determined, not because of what we have done or not done, but because we are loved. Most importantly, we are loved by God. The author of Psalm 131 has found that truth and its reward is beautiful.


*it may help to read ‘Israel’ as “God’s People”, for that is who they represent in this passage.


The Face of God

(The following is a re-sharing of a post from my personal blog - Kim Williams' Kim's Korner)

I saw the face of God the other day.

I was in a stranger’s home and was taken by an unframed painting hanging in the foyer. After dealing with several matters of business, I could not help but ask.

Me: I hate to pry, but who did that painting?

Proud Mother: My daughter.

Me: It is lovely, very moving, actually.

Proud Mother: That one over there was the first painting she ever did. (She pointed toward the dining room)

I am a father. I have seen the ‘firsts’ of a lot of things. My daughter is a good artist, and her first attempts look just like that: efforts that show promise, but lack the presence of an educated and trained talent. This painting showed nothing, and I mean nothing, of being a first, except the first masterpiece. I then heard how this young artist had never as much as drawn a stick figure (beyond childhood), nor shown any interest in art until her senior year in high school. Her family had moved her to North Carolina from New York the summer before her senior year and she reacted as one might expect. To make matters worse, not only had she been ‘forced’ to leave her friends and classmates, because of the North Carolina educational requirements, she had to take two art classes, one a junior class and the other a sophomore introductory art class. After a brief introduction to the use of canvas and paint, she had responded to her first assignment with a painting, a painting that now held me captive. Her muse had been a photo taken of her cradling her cat. She had decided to paint the self portrait and replace the cat with an infant child.

I wish you could see the work as it is now permanently burned upon the canvas of my mind. I wish I could post a photo of it for you to see. I wish that my ability to write could come even within a universe of describing what I saw hanging on the wall in that home. I wish you could feel the chills running up your skin as I did. I wish that every human could see the wonder and awe of the creative moment that she managed to capture. It is pure beauty. I long to describe what I saw, but I cannot. I will simply honor the wonder and miracle of that moment when the efforts of a young woman captured for me and gifted me in that moment of time with a glimpse of the Divine.

I saw the face of God the other day.