This past weekend was the second weekend in a row that I was invited to a birthday party. I showed up, unexpected and was greeted by a handful of familiar little faces who all screamed, “STEPHANIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” when I walked in the door. I immediately dropped my purse on the ground and walked around the table, crouching down and saying hello to a whole bunch of kids I love.
One little girl was especially glad to see me. She ran up to me, started talking, and pretty much didn’t stop talking to me until the moment I hugged her goodbye. She scooted close to me while we watched the presents get torn open, and she crawled in my lap and climbed on my back and I twirled her around for awhile. I have always been drawn to her, always felt that there was something about her that made me want to build a safe house and bring her to live in it and protect her from mean kids or people who will squish her dreams or anybody who might want to cause her harm. If I could stretch my arms out wide enough to protect every moment of her life from fear or worry, I would do it.
I was laying in bed that night praying for her, and the other kids I saw and the rest that I know and all the ones in the world who I don’t know, and suddenly I was hit with the realization of how powerful the love of a child is.
The love of a child is a super-humbling gift of grace.
That little girl thinks I am so many things I am not. She grabbed my leg when I said I had to leave and looked up at me with eyes full of love and adoration. I saw it. and when I brought that image up to God in my prayers, I had to say “MAKE ME WORTHY OF THIS.” The answer is, of course, that I will never be worthy of that. I will never deserve the gracious love of the children in my life.
Many years ago I prayed for humility, and God’s kind of given me the ultimate thorn-in-the-flesh to keep me humble by surrounding me with a bunch of brilliant kids who shower me with love, even though I’m the one getting paid to do the same for them.