I love you!
On an exhausting day, or frustrating day, or a day filled with a sense of inadequacy or failure I have this gift… I look up above my desk to a picture of kids and set of cards made by them. One of them has painted letters… Dab, I love you.
My kids don’t care about all that other stuff. It doesn’t really matter to them if I’m a huge success (yes they help check my ego at the door at the same time they boost it up) or an utter failure. My kids also happen to have a lot of exuberant energy so cards on a bulletin board are just the tip of the iceberg. When they hear the garage door open when I’m coming home from a late meeting they almost always come running… “DAAADDDYYYY!” And then envelop me in a big hug.
They personify and incarnate overflowing and unconditional love.
And I think to myself: what a gift, what a blessing. Don’t we all need that that kind of welcome in our lives? And wouldn’t it be awesome if it wasn’t just kids that did it. What if we greeted each other with that kind of overflowing exuberance regularly? What if we demonstrate that much excitement as we greeted each other and really were a constant reminder to each other… hey – however bad your day is – I LOVE YOU!
Jesus entreats us to be a like a child, and while there are many reasons not to take this too literally, on the subject of love and acceptance is one of those times I’m absolutely certain Jesus is being absolutely literal.
When we gather for Sunday services we often act a lot like we do when we go to the movie theater, we actually get upset if someone sits near us when there is plenty of room to spread out and not encroach on one another. But what if… what if that is the whole point? What if instead when we gathered together our reaction was to run and greet each other with the unconditional and exuberant bear hug kind of love that we usually reserve for children and their parents.
Maybe that’s crazy. Maybe that’s just crazy-like the kind of community God imagines for us.
I love you (period)