Every now and then I experience one of those moments. The kind that squeezes my heart and steals my breath. A transient moment, nearly impossible to capture in words.
It happened as I stood heart-in-throat captivated, watching them play. Beat-up Tonka trucks and a pair of toddler-sized plastic ride-on cars flavored the moment boy. With “motors” whirring and horns beep-beeping they lost themselves in the pure joy of being two. In the joy of being together.
I watched as two heads bent close, one blond and one not, working to maneuver a truck onto the patio. Coordination that hadn’t yet caught up with determination threatened to spoil everything. Until it didn’t.
One yellow truck and two small boys landed on the patio, stunned. And then they locked eyes and giggled that giggle that says everything words never could. Seeing their mission as a complete success they went after yet another truck. Because where one is the other must be also.
Time passed and I took it all in. The laughter, the teamwork, the friendship, the bond that won’t be broken. And then it happened.
Smack. Squeal. A torrent of tears. Four little legs pumping furiously to reach Mama first.
I swallowed hard, opened both arms and grabbed my two sobbing boys. Drying tears and giving kisses and reminding of how Jesus wants us to love, I encouraged them to hug it out. And they did.
Giggles restored. Friendship resumed. All was right with the world.
Their play continued but now my mind wandered. Was I making this thing harder than it needed to be? Had I just experienced Conflict Resolution 101 only to discover it was all I needed to graduate with high honors? What was all that other stuff…all those rules and guidelines? Were they really necessary?
In that moment, for that moment, I saw clearly. I saw past the muck and mire of distraction. I saw beyond the throng of well-intentioned but misleading books and articles I had stuffed my brain with. I tossed the index of mental notations I’d been keeping and dared to think with my heart. What I saw was simplicity in its most raw and beautiful form. Simply Jesus.
His finger burned a few basic rules onto the tablets of stone and then He broke them down so we, in all our thick-headed humanity, could grasp them.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
There you go. How much simpler can it be?
We aren’t told to love the neighbor if they’re lovable. Or if they’re dutiful. Or if they’re beautiful. We’re told to love them even if they aren’t. Because they won’t be any more than we are. Period.
But we can’t love them in their sinful, spiteful, sometimes hateful, ugly mess if we haven’t first given Him our own heart. He has to fix it up and fill it up with the miracle that makes it possible.
Because they’ll be times we’ll cruise right along loving each other and giggling as we land on our backsides. But they’ll also be times when we forget we’re a team and end up in a smack-down of the wills. And those are the moments when we need to be reminded of how Jesus told us to love…
Hard and with a whole lot of grace!