i tuck kasher under my chin on the kitchen linoleum and we dance while the tea kettle boils. outside my window i see an old man in a plaid shirt limping along the winding road.

he’s so frail, i can almost see his heart pulsing through the plaid and i tuck kasher closer. he still smells new, this nine-month-old, like an unread book or an unworn sweater and i don’t want the smell to fade.

i’ve been doing the mother thing too quickly these days. my patience has physically stretched so tight it’s snapped, and i’ve had to bend low and apologize, and watch gentleness cross their young faces.

gentleness looks a lot like forgiveness. kind of like a leaf unfurling, and the trees are full of them: branches bright-eyed with forgiveness.

and i put it on my facebook status, but i’ll say it again here: if i sing a thousand songs and change a hundred diapers, if I read countless stories and make nutritious meals but have no love, i am but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…

love is a cup of cold water in the green cup, not the blue, because you know his favorite color is green. it is reading three stories instead of one. it is being kind when they don’t make it to the potty in time. it is sitting and holding them longer than your schedule allows.

love isn’t us. it is God.

my friend sent me a card this week, with some photos of her pet lamb. the lamb is blind, and was rejected by her mom, so my friend took her in and raised her. and this lamb will never see her own loveliness, but my friend is there to remind her of it, every day.

“i find she turned into a real beauty,” my friend wrote on the back of the photo. “she is still blind but her crooked front legs straightened out, and she loves running and jumping too, for that matter. in the meantime, i bought five more ewe lambs and a ram. this way Ronja is not so alone anymore, and i started my own little flock, which reminds me a lot of John 10: 1-21. i know my sheep by name, and they sure know my voice.”

i read that card over and over again, then propped it up on my desk to remind me.

love is being a mirror for our children. it is showing them they are valuable, and irreplaceable, and beautiful, when they can’t see it for themselves.

1. link up a post (old or new) that you feel is ‘broken’ or ‘imperfect’ or somehow redemptive
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog)
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets — Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

*post and painting by e.wierenga