After dashing to the copy machine early this morning, I sprinted into my classroom where I was hoping Liam and Sawyer hadn’t done anything destructive. I needed to hurry them to their classrooms before my 10th graders showed up for class.
And there was Sawyer squatting down with a dustpan in his hand while Liam swept my floor.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Sweeping,” Liam responded in a bit of a duh-mom tone.
“Why?” (I hate to admit it, but I figured they were cleaning up some mess they had just made.)
With much stronger you’re-missing-the-obvious-silly-mama-exasperation, Liam said, “Because we love you!”
They learned this from their father. Ryan has already instilled in our young sons that they do things for their mama simply because they love her. In the last few months I have discovered an emptied dishwasher, folded laundry, vacuumed carpets and even scrubbed toilets (!!) with “just because we love you” as my boys’ motivation.
My boys aren’t perfect. They fight, they break stuff, they become a little too obsessed with whatever electronics are in their lives. But they understand this supernatural concept much earlier than I ever did, and—at times—better than I do now.
One of the hardest parts of accepting Jesus’ salvation gift is that we have complicated sacrifice and what it looks like to love someone, so we have a difficult time understanding Jesus’ motivation. All you have to do is watch TV for a half an hour to see that our world views love as something they feel, and something that MUST be reciprocated to be real. People say and show love in order to reach the outcome they are hoping for.
Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus loved his friends (us), so he died for them (us), because if he didn’t they (we) would have to die. It truly is as simple as that.
So my sons show me their love by doing stuff for me, not to earn a gold star or more allowance, or even to please me. They learned this from their father who learned it from his heavenly father, and I am learning it from them. I see their innocent demonstration of love and am challenged to find ways to show my love better to those around me.
My most treasured moment with Liam is the day I had surgery to place my port right before my first chemo treatment. He wanted to be with me after I got home, but I was in a lot of pain, so he just wrapped his little five-year-old arms around my waist and clung gently and motionlessly to me in bed for 2 HOURS! His poor little heart did not know how to comfort me, so out of love he denied his wiggles and his desire to go watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with his brothers and demonstrated love with his embrace and his presence.
This is how I want to love. I want to love a love that has no other motivation than to love…to choose others’ lives above my own.
I can’t take away the pain the people I love feel, but I can cling to their sides while they feel it. I can’t make life simpler when it’s just truly nuts, but I can sweep some floors.