I had just settled on the couch, grateful to have crossed the day’s finish line with two kids intact and in bed. I eagerly reached for a book I’d been longing to read, when my six-year-old padded out of her room – one bare foot and one slipper-socked foot. I bristled, wondering with the psalmist how long, O Lord?
Sweet Girl held up the partner slipper sock in one hand and a gray pom-pom in the other. The slipper had had (perfect past tense because it was perfectly fine with me to leave it in the past!) 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. And by the way, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE IN BED! I choked back the destructive 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 informed her it wasn’t going to get fixed that night, even IF it was fixable. She was predictably crestfallen.
I peered at the trivial pom-poms unraveling in my hand. I’d wait until she went back to bed; then I’d just throw this whole fraying mess away.
“Do you think you can fix it?”
My scheming screeched to a halt. Was it POSSIBLE to fix it? I hadn’t actually considered that. Honestly, I didn’t want to.
It was a gray pom-pom for crying out loud – not a broken limb, not a break-up with a boyfriend, not even a blip on the radar of important – to me.
I looked up into her earnest, hopeful, trusting expression. Which awoke the larger issue. When Sweet Girl is grown and gone, will she remember me as the mom who shoved aside what she valued? Or will she remember me as the mom who cared so much that even the outlandish details of her life were precious to me? I sighed.
“Couldn’t you sew it back on?” She 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. That book had been just within my fingertips.
“Yes, I can probably sew it on,” I admitted.
Sweet Girl’s face brightened and, with full confidence in her mother’s sewing abilities and willingness to use them, hopped happily back to bed – both feet now in one slipper sock. Crazy girl.
So I did the hard love thing. I abandoned the book, hauled my tired rear off the couch, and rummaged through craft supplies shaking my head. Was I actually comparing shades of gray thread?
Back on the couch, I stitched the fraying mess – and realized I was actually stitching up something far more significant. 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 marveled at the way the eye of a needle opened my eyes.
I paused and looked up. Hanging over our fireplace were three crosses – just small hot-glued branches – beneath red heart lights I’d strung around the mantel. The cross, a symbol of the most ridiculous love ever. And beating hearts, pulsing with the rush of blood-red grace 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 somehow still find my heart so quick to wander? The whole thing is utterly ridiculous.
And utterly fitting so near Valentine’s Day.
I tied off the knot and surveyed the repair – this minor task required of me. It didn’t seem nearly so costly anymore. Those few interrupted minutes had been a disguised opportunity to participate in something far more significant than irritating gray pom-poms. It occurred to me that 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 with a ridiculously amazing love — not just on holidays but everyday.
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