When I became a parent, everything was exciting. I loved learning about my new child. As they each experienced “firsts”, I celebrated and found a special joy as they explored their new world. Surveying all of my kids, I can say that my favorite “first” is when they learn to reach out to be held. Sometimes for comfort, sometimes for help, sometimes because they are simply tired, but no matter what, it always melts my heart as they figure out that they can look beyond themselves. In that simple gesture, they have recognized that wherever they are, they can feel safe looking to me to help them.
You don’t have to be a parent to know this joy. You have probably experienced it as an aunt or uncle, a sibling or simply as a good friend of the family. Children learn who deserves their trust and who they believe will respond to their needs with love and compassion. This recognition is beautiful and still tugs at my heart every time I see one of my children’s outstretched arms.
We learn who deserves our trust and who we believe will respond to our needs with love and compassion.
t the heart of this simple gesture two incredible things have to actually happen. First, a child has to recognize that they are in a mess. No matter our perspective, the child feels, in that moment, that they can’t take anymore – be it after a spill from their bike or in line at Wal-Mart (in which case, we probably feel their pain). It’s in that moment they know they can’t go on. They know they’re in a world of mess. More than simply knowing they’re in a mess, they’re looking for hope that they will make it out. Hope found in comfort offered or physical help somewhere outside themselves. Hope that they look to those they love and trust to provide. That first time (and every time after) is a little miracle of this tiny person recognizing their plight and seeking salvation – a miracle we tend to forget about as we grow older and, in our opinion, wiser.
While it can be frustrating to some to know there’s a universal standard we’re all constantly missing, it’s actually wonderful news.
- Who has looked to you for help in the midst of their mess? What was your response?
- What places do you have the most trouble asking for help? Why do you think that is?
- Have you ever considered that your mess is actually an opportunity to experience God’s loving embrace? Take a moment to think of the messes in your life and pray for God to lift you up in comfort and love. You may even consider lifting your hands as an outward expression of openness to God’s help.