On Friday we began a new year of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). The theme for this year is "All for Love" and in a video we watched, Mandy Arioto, the President of MOPS, shares a story that she heard about a mom in the pickup line at her children's school. As this mom was sitting in her car, she noticed a woman who was also waiting, get out of her car with her younger children and begin throwing a football back and forth with them. As they played, some of the children still waiting in their cars rolled down their windows and began cheering. It became this joyous moment that grabbed the attention of all those present. The woman watching was struck with how the mom with the football had taken an ordinary moment, often filled with stress and tension, and intentionally created an opportunity of connection with her kids. Not only was her children's day better for it, but her action brightened the days of all those who witnessed it. What a gift she gave to the world that day!
After the meeting I picked the kids up from childcare. I was holding Ransom, but he insisted "I do it" as we descended the steps towards the parking lot. I guided him to the rail and watched as he stretched his little wings of independence just a bit more. As we continued towards the car, Margot and Ransom both kept stopping, asking questions about everything along they way. "What are those kids doing down there? Why does that floor have squares on it? "I felt the urge to hurry them along. But then I stopped myself and remembered We aren't in a hurry. We're just going home. This isn't an emergency.
Love is patient. It's patient when kids are So. Slow. climbing into their car seats. It's patient when "I scoop it" sometimes means more yogurt goes on the floor than in the bowl. It's patient when I don't agree with you and it's patient when you don't agree with me.
I think of how patient God is with me. Psalm 103:8-14 says:
The LORD is merciful and gracious
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always ways chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
He remembers that we are dust.
We are human.
Do you ever have those moments where you catch someone in their raw humanity and it breaks your heart a little? like, maybe you're at a restaurant and you see someone eating by themselves and you watch them take a bite of food and slowly chew and something about the whole scene makes them seem so vulnerable. And you think man, we really are just people--all the same. But then you move on from that moment and people annoy you again--in traffic and on Facebook and at church and at home (of course).
But love is patient. And kind. And so many other things. And if we are to love, I think we have to keep before ourselves both how precious and how vulnerable people truly are. We are these amazing, never-to-be-recreated-creations who are simultaneously so desperately in need of love and grace and compassion.And love is one of those things that has to start with us, as cliche as that sounds. We can't wait for someone else to take the first step (after all, we love because God has already first loved us). Do I want the world to be filled with more love? Do I want people to see by my life how good God is, how patient and how merciful? I haven't mastered this by any means. My patience is tested multiple times a day and far too often I do not pass the test! Far too often I fail to recognize the image of God in the people around me. But I am so thankful that God is patient with my impatience and is gently leading me along in the ordinary moments of my days. It might not seem like much, but each of those moments strung together are what define the trajectory of a life. I want my life to be a life of love.