The first time it happened, I thought maybe it was coincidence. The second time it happened, I knew it was real.
Sometime after Thanksgiving, when our paper plates held another round of leftovers, Zach and I stopped to pray. It’s out custom to pray before we eat, and we always hold hands. This time we just folded our hands and bowed our heads.
Months ago, Abigail caught on to our custom. We first had to grasp her tiny hands and they’d slip out to pick up whatever food lay before her. Eventually, she began to reach for our fingers before grabbing her food. Tonight, she put down her half-eaten pizza to pray with us. It didn’t take much for her to catch on except encouragement, modeling, and patience.
So, when we were in the base chapel’s cry room a few weeks ago, her actions during prayer time shocked me. Abigail didn’t reach for our hands. She folded her own, closed her eyes, and bowed her head. Zach and I weren’t even doing that at the moment. It was unexpected and amazing.
Maybe she’s seen us do it without us realizing it, or maybe she’s seen other chapel-goers bow their heads in prayer with hands clasped. However she learned it, she learned it. She’s watching even the subtleties. And when we decided not to hold hands as we prayed over our Thanksgiving leftovers, she folded her hands and put her head way down, almost touching her Minnie Mouse plate.
It’s got me thinking that there’s much more to training up Abigail than intentionality. And maybe the subtleties aren’t so subtle.