My six-year-old daughter, Zoe, taught me a love lesson exactly one year ago today. After she was tucked in for the night, she padded out of her room – one bare foot and one slipper-socked foot. I tensed, annoyed the finish line to my day was extended.
Zoe held up the partner slipper sock in one hand and a gray pom-pom in the other. The slipper had (past tense) a pair of dangly gray pom-poms attached at the top which I was preparing to mentally curse. She wanted me to fix it.
Yeah sure, kid. No problem. I’ll get right on it. Oh yeah, and by the way, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE IN BED! I choked back the destructive that wanted to spew and accepted the extended slipper sock and offending gray pom-pom. I made an adequate effort to examine them (come on, that deserved a gold star right there), but I let her know it wasn’t going to get fixed that night, even IF it was fixable. She was, predictably, disappointed.
I looked down at the small mass of gray fibers coming loose in my hand. I’d wait until she went back to bed, then I’d just throw this fraying mess out. That’s when I heard her earnest question,
“Do you think you can fix it?”
My thoughts screeched to a halt. Fix it? I didn’t want to try, honestly. The whole thing was silly. It was a gray pom-pom for crying out loud, not a broken limb, or a break-up with a boyfriend, or a life-or-death matter, not even a blip on the radar of important…to me.
But it obviously meant something to her. Which awoke the larger issue. When she’s grown, will she remember me as the mom who shoved aside things important to her? Or will she remember me as the mom who cared so much that even outlandish details of her life were precious to me? I sighed.
“Couldn’t you sew it back on?” Zoe offered the most helpful suggestion she knew.
It was just a mass of gray fibers making a mess on my lap, and it was all kinds of unimportant and…it mattered. Because it was really about how well I chose to love my daughter. I sighed again.
“Yes, I can probably sew it on,” I admitted. I watched as Zoe, with both feet now in one slipper sock, hopped her way happily back to bed. Crazy girl. This mothering thing…yeah.
So I did the hard love thing, got my rear off the couch, and rummaged through craft supplies, shaking my head. Was I actually comparing colors of gray thread? Who cares?
My daughter cared.
Back on the couch, I stitched the fraying mess – and realized I was actually stitching up something far more significant. With each pass of the needle, I wondered Is this what real love does? Stitches things, people, back together? Reconnects the disconnected? Takes the time to do crazy for the sake of demonstrating love?
I glanced up at the crosses, just small hot-glued branches, hanging over our fireplace and the heart lights I’d strung around the mantel. The cross, a symbol of the most ridiculous love ever. And hearts connected together because of it. Why would God send His Son to die for me, when I’m so quick to replace Him with a barrage of lesser worthy things? Why would His grace welcome me, after I’ve taste-tested His love and experienced He is good, and somehow still find my heart so quick to wander? The whole thing is utterly ridiculous.
And utterly fitting; tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.
I tied off a knot and finished the small thing required of me. It didn’t seem nearly so costly anymore. The interruption a disguised opportunity to participate in something much larger than irritating gray pom-poms. Any investment of love, no matter how small, is really part of something big; because God IS love. I’m slow to see, slow to look up. But thank God, I didn’t completely botch this. (Lord knows how many other times I have!)
May this Valentine’s Day bring a fresh awareness of how much God loves you. Romans 5 is an amazing chapter to reflect on, if you get the chance today. But the verse below from John is a good summary.
Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. John 3:16 ERV