In the Hug


In the Hug

My youngest grandchild, Danny aged 10 months, took his first steps this past week.  He has been pulling himself up on almost anything or anyone who stood still long enough for several weeks now.  It finally happened that, he let go of the couch, turned and saw mom with outstretched arms just a few feet away.  First step, tentative smile. Second step, big smile.  Third step, outstretched arms and a giggle.  Fourth step, fall into mom’s open arms.

There’s something about that moment that every parent recognizes.  Because you know that now, in this learning stage, that he is content with coming to you, but you also know that as soon as he gets his balance fully under him, that he will reverse course and try to head in the opposite direction as you.

You also know that he has entered the stage of skinned knees and bumped heads because, finding balance is not the hardest lesson about learning to walk.  You also have to learn that you can’t walk through the toys you scattered all over the floor.  You have to learn to look out for obstacles.  You have to learn not to get out ahead of your feet.  You will learn that falling on the carpeted floor is bad enough, but soon there will be falls on dirt, on gravel, or on the concrete driveway. 

As a child you never really see the danger until the hurt.  As a parent you know you can’t protect them from everything.  There will be many falls, and the best you can do is to be there as quickly as possible to help them up when needed, to wipe the tears when needed, to wash them up and affix the band aid when needed.  And then, to let them go again when they are ready, because that step is always needed.  Every child has to learn the lessons on their own. 

This is the time that a child is also learning the most important spiritual lesson of all.  Because, in our spiritual life we also many times do not see the danger until the hurt.  When the spiritual fall scares; when the fall scrapes, cuts or bruises; when the fall brings tears; run to the hug.  Everything you need for the fear, for the hurt, for the courage to try again, is in the hug. 

When we finally admit to the pain of our spiritual falls, isn’t it amazing that God is always there, waiting for us to turn back home, waiting for us to trust in his presence, to trust in his love, to trust in his always-open arms, and to allow ourselves to be gathered into his hug.

“See, the home of God is among mortals.  He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.  Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

His Peace <><

Deacon Dan

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash