How do I know? I recognize myself, right there. Right in the eyes of my child.
We read Mark 22:36-39 together.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
I ask Max if he has someone he doesn't like that he needs to practice loving. Loving like he loves himself.
He laughs and says no.
But across the table I see her face.
I say, I do.
And then she speaks thru her fingers cupped over her mouth. One of my favorite things about her.
She frowns, I do, too, Mama.
And there it is. Guilt. Shame. She doesn't want to tell me. Tells me to guess. I guess wrong. Twice.
Then she shares about a new girl she's only been around a few times. She's not feeling the love, y'all.
But she's feeling the guilt of not feeling the love.
Tears are wanting to fall.
I go to her, put both of my hands on her face and tell her it is okay. It is okay because there will always be people that we struggle to like.
Life is full of struggles and we fail and we fall.
And why is it that we think our ladder to heaven has rungs further than our eyes can see - when there is only one step.
One simple step full of faith of what cannot be seen - but can be felt in a change. Without a change was there ever a step?
So I share my failure to love and we promise together to try harder to keep this greatest commandment. Given by the One who walked this earth and understood. But knew even through that understanding what must be.
What we must be.
My hands leave her face and I hold her hair so soft and remind her what I expect of her and ask her to expect it of me. It is easier when done together.
We will remember that God loves that person as much as He loves us.
We will start over.