Finding Simplicity in the Shepherd

By our Art Contributor, Kathryn Hyland

I want Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe, I want Trader Joe's to make home deliveries, and I want a private jet so I can fly to Europe on the weekends (that's reasonable right?). I want Prince Harry to propose already, so I can live in the palace and have tea with Kate. I want a personal assistant to download music for me because I'm too much of a whirlwind to sit down and do it myself.

I know I am not alone when it comes to thinking of things I want on a daily basis. Our world today makes it extremely difficult to be content with what we have and where we are in life. There is always the hope and worry of having more, doing more, being more. Oftentimes the pressure to keep up with the world can leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and restless. We forget how to be content with what the Lord gives us. It is so easy to forget that the Lord always gives us what we NEED, not necessarily what we want.

A few weeks ago, during my Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation course (a Montessori based catechesis training), I was comforted when Psalm 23 was read aloud: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. With being a recent graduate and trying to "plan" my life, (haha very funny) the reminder that I have everything I need is a relief. God has LITERALLY given me everything I need. There is so much freedom if we learn to be content with what we have.

The painting of the Good Shepherd by Margaret Tarrant which can be found here is hung in the children's atrium to help them grasp the concept of God as the Good Shepherd and ourselves as the sheep.  The Lord said, "Let the little children come to me." We must always strive for a child-like trust in God. This beautiful painting has captured what it looks like to rest with God. We need to lean into His arms and know that He wants to give us what is needed as a loving father does.

We don't need Prince Harry (pretty sure he is a royal disaster anyway), and we don't need the best wardrobe or private jet. We simply need child-like trust in God and with that comes freedom, contentment, and happiness. As I studied the painting, I thought back to my childhood and realized that the majority of the time I was content. Content to play outside, read books, bake cookies with Mom, and boss my younger siblings around. I had everything I needed and I knew it.

So what has happened to that child as we've become women? Where did we lose her? Why have we lost our childlike faith? And how can we reclaim that innocence that still gently dwells in our hearts?