We’ve been at the beach the past few days. With a newborn and a two-year-old that means we’ve mostly been at the house looking in the general direction of where we know the beach is located. Wonderfully we have managed two 45-minute outings.
Two-year-old Livvy likes the beach but is highly suspect of those big, loud, foam-producing monsters we call waves. The chilly water doesn’t seem to thrill her either.
Today, we arrived and were building sand-type objects and chasing gulls and being a little beach family. Any attempt to get Livvy near the water was a failure. She’d seen the waves before and had made the judgment that they weren’t for her.
So I hopped in and swam out to catch some waves for a bit of bodysurfing. As I staggered up from my first wave I thought I heard Livvy crying but since she was with Kim and since Kim is her mom, I didn’t worry. I set my sights on the next wave but when I glanced to shore I saw Livvy pointing at me and wailing forlornly. Kim was calling. I hopped another wave in landing near their feet only to her Livvy wailing, “Daddy, Daddy, OUT! No water! Out! Daddy come here!”
I ran in to her and she was just sobbing, “Daddy, Daddy, OUT!”
She was scared for me.
It was pure.
She has said, “I LOVE you Daddy for a while now.” I’m on par with that milkshake.
But this was a moment when the love was made real.
As I try to do because I want to teach myself to think this way about everything, I’ve been trying to put this in God context. I’ve been trying to figure out if there is a great – or itty bitty – spiritual lesson here.
The answer, I think, is that it is the difference between when we tell God we love him and when we do those spontaneous and perhaps irrational things that show him we love him – emptying your purse or wallet and giving everything to someone who clearly needs the money, buying lunch for the person who just hurt you badly, helping your spouse or significant other do something they hate doing.
I also think it teaches us something about how to look on the cross. The cross should crush us. The enormity of it must whack us. We must cry out, “NO!” as reflect on the unimaginable suffering Jesus endured to give us life, abundant life.
And we must also learn to experience the miraculous joy when he comes to us and tells us the cross isn’t the end of the story – it is the beginning of a new story.