I’ve been working on a post (for likebasicallyforever) about respecting kids. Valuing them as human beings, as individuals, as free agents…
But today Gabe took RJ to work with him. For no other reason than “I miss her.”
And that kind of says more than all the logic and intuition I have been editing to precision over there.
In this family our daughter has value that her father sees right now. He doesn’t see her as a potential or a commodity. She doesn’t serve some image of a nuclear family and anyone who has had a 3 year old knows that she will not be impressing anybody today with her social skills (although she will probably bring more than a few smiles). She will make messes, she will interrupt, she will whine, she may throw a fit, she will not consider those around her… And when it’s all over Gabe will probably feel a little more tired than usual, but he will also feel glad. Because getting to help little humans learn to use their wings is amazing. And super hard. And incredibly rewarding.
People stare, they judge, they roll their eyes and purse their lips. People do not like it when children are loud or disrespectful or unkempt. They do not like to see the growing, they like to see the grown. So kids do not receive very much patience…
God, please help me to show them patience here. Let me be their traveling place of refuge from a world which does not find them quite as cute as we do.
Because I need that. I need a place where my immaturity is not punished with sharp rebukes. I need a place where I can be wrong, act wrong, think wrong and be okay, be gently taught otherwise. And God is that for me. In my world of black-and-white, my flurry of doubt and condemnation, my closet of insecure finger-pointing, God has a place for me to sit – a place where I can be wrapped up in a terrifying peace that overwhelms all of my ideas about who God is supposed to be. He lets me churn, lets me accuse him and turn my back to pout, lets me cling to crutches when he has shown me how to walk, but always always he’s there. Always he is safe for me. Always his perfect love drives out fear and I am left berated by the world, by the religion, but never by him. I can trust that. And trusting allows me to try to be better, knowing that if I am still messing up my shaky legs will stumble me once again into that place of rest where he kisses the bruises and speaks truth right to my face the way I do to RJ – Eyes. Give me your eyes. I love you so much. Do you see why we don’t do that?
And if I need that still – 27 years into this thing, if I receive that still – than how can I provide any less for these brand new people, these tiny humans trying to figure out how to be? How can I provide any less with a clear conscience anyway… Ungrateful Servant comes to mind.
So grace. And patience. And value. And today RJ gets all of those things from the man she calls Daddy. I can’t think of anything speaking clearer than that.