“Ohhhh Mommy!” she gasps, “It’s all alone on the floor! It’s lonely and cold and it doesn’t have a mommy! Oh, the poor little thing. I’m going to put it right up here so it will be safe and warm. There!”
I absentmindedly give my consent without looking at what she is doing. We don’t have much time before we leave for skating, and Tiny Daughter needs to be dressed! Pink pants, pink striped hoodie shirt, pink and white socks, pink shoes- (pink for dinner, anyone?!)
“See, Mommy? I put it there!” She’s gasping again and now clamoring for my approval that her good deed not go unnoticed.
Pink outfit in hand, I turn to see what precious creature has (this time) captivated Tiny Daughter’s shower of tenderness.
It’s a leaf.
A leaf, friends.
It wasn’t even whole. It was a tiny excerpt of a former leaf, mangled and twisted…dead.
My heart is touched. More than touched- it is smitten, convicted, torn.
A painful thought comes and doesn’t leave, “My daughter has more compassion for that leaf than I have for people at times.”
Compassion for the flock we are entrusted with comes more naturally, though still of grace.
But compassion for the unwhole, the devastated, the piece of life that struggles to grasp hope- this goes against our very grain as humans.
Why do we repel from that which we are?
Through Tiny Daughter’s eyes, the leaf was all precious. Not a thought of where it really belonged- what it really was.
The same sentiments are often expressed by her for other miniscule creatures in her life.
That fly that the cat is after (our cat enjoys snacking on flies) needs to be heroically rescued!
That spider should be given a chance to be released into the yard before we flatten him with a shoe! Don’t you know that he probably has a mother somewhere?!
That rock she just stepped on is surely feeling more pain than she is experiencing.
Not a thought of where they really belong- what they really are.
All are items of little worth in the eyes of a not-so-child.
But the beauty in the lifeless-
It’s Christ! It’s grace.
And, oh, how I need my heart to be broken again and again for the lives around me.
They cross my path. Then I cross theirs. Is there no exchange of grace?
Take inconvenient hospitality to a mountain top of compassion.
With me, become a child again.
A Kindred Spirit