Sitting cross-legged, I sort toys and bag up giveaways. "Daniel, I found another one!" He races over to pluck the coin from my hand, and carries it triumphantly up the ladder to his bed railing.
My brother flew home this week, my eldest son walked the stage in flowing red robes on Tuesday night, and we celebrated his graduation party on Saturday. Throughout the week leading up to it, our family cleaned, painted, and landscaped like madmen. And my silly prayer to God all week? Lord, please let the tulips keep their petals and beauty until after the party. I wanted the guests to have that splash of color in the yard, and even more so, I longed for my horticulturalist brother to enjoy them with me.
Graduation party day came, and my vibrant red, purple and yellow tulips were still there. Nodding in rain, blown by the wind, they were still there -- weeks past their duration date-- still there when my brother drove up to see them.
The party went wonderfully, the food multiplied, the hard rain held off, and we delighted to linger long with people over ice cream sundaes and hot coffee on a cloudy day. Conversations flowed, grass-stained teens played volleyball for hours, and we had a wonderful time.
And the tulips? They held their color, waving in the wind.
Five or six nickels and dimes line up precariously on the white pine bed railing. Surrounded by Legos, cheetahs, and valiant plastic green army men, I sort toys into piles, and sit in Daniel's room, listening to him. He tells me of games he plays, and battles his cheetahs have been in, and he occasionally hands me toys to sort. I listen and clean; listen and love him; listen and bring order to the disarray.
And the joy in him wells up. This time with him, this one-on-one listening, this listening to the smallest details of his life, fills up his love bank and bursts him wide open.
"You beautiful, Mom! I love you." And we work some more. I work quietly behind the scenes, restoring order and beauty to spilled toys, spilled out bits from a busy life that hadn't yet been dealt with.
Love spills into him, and over him, falling out around him, and he breaks into happy leaping.
"Mom, I buy you something?" he asks suddenly, touching his six or seven coins lined up on the bed. These were his coins that he was saving in the ceramic blue and white pig. Coins he was saving to buy a Lego set.
"Mom, I buy you something?"
"Wow, Daniel, that's really sweet and generous of you. I'm okay for right now, but maybe later, okay? Thank you!" I stammer and affirm him.
I get this. This desire to give back to the One who sits in my disarray and listens, to the One who spills love to me with simple gestures, like tulips bobbing in the wind. The love spills up and over, and I burst into wondering what I can give back to Him. And the nickels and dimes line up precariously on my white pine railing.
"Thank you, God! Thank you for so much. I buy you something?" And the line it slips out my mouth in quiet humor to my God all weekend now, a shared joke between me and the Godhead. His letters tell me that a life of worship and obedience is what speaks love to Him right back, and so I gather my heart and leap into worship.
Hi friend! I've missed you. What has this last week been like for you? How are ways you speak love back to God? (Those in email can click here to join the discussion.)
Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose, and Ann at A Holy Experience.
Coins photo credit.