So on Saturday I had a special niece/aunt day with my 12 year old niece. At the end we went to a local skating rink for about 2 hours and I learned quite a few things....the first being that I'm old and terribly out of shape.
After taking a 2-4 laps I would roll over to a bench and rest for about 15 minutes....as I was sitting there people watching I saw:
1) A young girl, maybe 8, skate onto the floor and fall, hard. She wildly glanced around for a second. I thought she was looking to make sure no one else from her party saw her fall. But then an older guy skated up and scooped her into his arms as she began crying "Daddy Daddy!". I started thinking how comforted she must be to know that Daddy is always there. How often when I fall down, do I wildly look around, not for my Daddy but to make sure no one else in my "party" saw me fall? How many times to I look to make sure that my Father didn't see me sin, even though I know he always does. How much more do I chafe under those loving arms, that only want to comfort me?
The little girl was comforted, she understood that sometimes, we need comfort. But when that time passes, we are still going to need to be set back on our skates and head out "on our own". How many times have I wobbled out into life, into relationships knowing that my Father is there, but he can't do everything for me? There are times that I am going to need to be brave and strong, knowing that if I fall, he'll still be there.
2) A couple was skating together; they looked like one of those couples that probably went on skate dates and were actually able to slow dance while skating because they were able to skate backwards. For a long time they skated, slowly, as if they were the only ones on the floor. The laughed, giggled would probably be more accurate, whispered, and gazed lovingly at each other. I thought, "I want that" whatever it was that was emanating off of them, that love, I want it. Then an even more amazing thing happened. The couple had children. A darling girl in Dora roller blades, and a little boy pretending to be braver then his wobbly knees wanted him to be. The kids were skating on their own, circling around and coming up behind the parents occasionally. Even though, to me, it seemed they only had eyes for each other the parents would always "know" when the kids were near. Whenever the kids passed them, or they passed the kids, there was always touching. This affirming, I see you, I love you, you are worthy to me type of touching. A hand on the shoulder, running over their hair etc. It was beautiful. I got to thinking, how often does God do that with us? How often can we hear his love in the rain, laughter with friends? Do we notice the love letter that he writes to us in the sunset, the letters that ride on the crest of the mountain tops? Can we see His Son in the faces of the kids that are beaten and abused, neglected and unloved, in the adults that feel that way too? If we do, do we reach out and "stroke their hair, touch their arm" to assure God that we love him too? Isn't that an opportunity for us to love God back, by loving his people? Whatever we do for the least of these right?
Before I was saved, God sent me all sorts of love letters. He often sent them on the lips of strangers in Kroger that would "see" me the very day I was planning on ceasing to exist. Now, I often can't contain my love when I'm faced with people feeling as invisible as I did.
3) There was this woman, she skated often alone, sometimes with other kids, other adults. But she skated her butt off! She was literally dancing on her skates, kicks, squats, twirls the whole gamut. When she loved a song that was playing she would throw her arms in the air and just belt out the song, as if no one was watching. The joy that was emanating off of this woman was so contagious she caught me staring several times (and for those of you in the know I have a substantial staring problem)
How often, have I been caught up in the joy that I have in Christ Jesus? Just the other day I could have wept thinking of how unending and unconditional His love and grace for me is. But I was afraid to be made fun of. I was afraid that people would think I was one of those "weird Christians". I was afraid. How I long to be like this woman on the skating floor. Unashamed of the deep ocean of love that I feel from my God.
3)The same dancing woman, whenever anyone would start to fall, (including me) if she was near, she would help then steady themselves. She reminded me then of a pure community. One that helps others without judgment, you need, I have so I'll give. We can help steady each other, catch each other before, or as we are falling. I often see wounds in people that I recognize as my same wounds. Sometimes I share, often I'm afraid they will reject me, refuse me in some way. People often recognize wounds in me that are theirs as well. Even knowing how afraid I am to be rejected by others, I will often inadvertently reject them. Because I am ashamed to admit my brokenness.
We can dance in our brokenness, because in Christ we are made whole again.
All of that and a cherry icee too, what a great day.