The following appeared in our church newsletter at the close of the Lenten journey, 2005
Wasn’t that long ago – maybe six weeks. He said it. I don’t know what clicked in him, but out it came from his mouth – Jack, our three year old, passed by me on the couch, reached up, hugged me, and said, without any solicitation from me, “I love you, Daddy.”
By way of reminder, his previous response to our expressions of love was, “yes, you do love me.”
Well, it goes without saying, that little twerp melted my heart, again. And while he still says, “yes, you do love me,” on his terms and in his time, usually the unexpected one, that he’ll tell me of his love for me. I’ve come to believe it’s the time I most need to hear it.
There’s something remarkable, even miraculous, watching your children grow up. In this, though, experiencing him “speak love” is so enchanting – so heart stirring.
He’s growing in so many ways right now – claiming the “I” pronoun is among the most surprising. This little conversationalist is right there in the middle of what’s going on and participating in the dialogue. He’s not only present – he’s engaged in the dynamic of our family. And while we’ve done this twice before, it’s still just as amazing with Jack.
You know, our Lenten journey culminates in a week depicting the most dramatic elements of the Christian narrative. Through it, though, don’t you hear God, our Heavenly Parent, saying in more ways than we can count, “I love you?”
And if this Lenten time is one of growth for each of us, and for all of us, how then are we able to claim that love of God expressed so powerfully for our sake – so that we can chart trajectories of reciprocity? (Boy, doesn’t that sentence sound a bit elitist!?)
The freedom and release of Easter is not just Jesus from the tomb, it’s for us to live as resurrection people in the now. It is for us to not only claim love, speak love, but live love in the name of the One who loves us.
My children are guiding my spiritual formation. And Jack reminds me again and again, that I must speak love and live love.
“Loving One, Holy God, Mother, Father, Friend – I love you, may I be the love I claim in you.”