For the last four months, I have picked up my daughter from school almost everyday. I have never been able to do this until now. Every single day, I pull into the “car line” and wait for her. She has trouble with her locker and so she is often one of the last kids to come out. So I wait and watch for her. And then, every single day, when I first see her walking toward the car, my breath catches slightly in my throat and I think, “There she is!” I am so full of love and excitement that I would run to her if I weren’t in the car. Every. Single. Day. Really. It’s not planned, it just happens. “There she is!” She opens the back door, puts her trumpet and backpack inside, and then climbs into the front seat. And there she is, so full of life. I want to know what she learned, how she feels, what she saw, what she had for lunch. I want to know everything. I hug her and kiss her. There is a reason for all of this, of course: she is the one I love. She is my beloved. Of all the kids that walk out of the school doors, she is mine. She is the one I love in the sea of faces. If you have more than one child, you have this reaction to each of them. When you see yours, something inside breaks open and your heart leaps: There she is! There he is! There is the one I love!
This experience seems like a small thing. It is just 10 minutes of my day, between 2:39 and 2:49. It happens on days when it’s sunny, days when it’s rainy, days when it’s snowy, days when it’s windy, days when I’m sick, days when she’s sick, days when I’m stressed, days when she’s tired. But, it is in these 10 minutes that I see everything so clearly. It is in these 10 minutes that I know for sure what holds everything else together. It is in these 10 minutes that I am reminded that my reaction to seeing my daughter as she walks out of school is the same reaction God has when he looks at me. His breath catches in his throat and he says: “There she is!” He looks at me and says: “You’re the one I love.” He runs to me and wants to know what’s on my heart, how I feel, what I saw, what I learned. This is because I’m the one he loves. I belong to him. I am his beloved. His heart is overwhelmed with love for me.
But it’s not just me. It’s also the person I gossiped about the other day with friends. She is the one he loves. It’s the homeless person I walked by on the street. He is the one he loves. It’s the politician who gives rise in my chest to anger and near hate. He is the one he loves. It’s the person on their cell phone in line. She is the one he loves. It’s the person I think made the worst decision possible. He is the one he loves. It’s the person who has hurt me deeply. He is the one he loves. It’s the person I have hurt. He is the one he loves. God is like the parent who has more than one child.
He has this same reaction to you. When he sees you, his breath catches in his throat and he says: “There she is!” “There he is!” He runs to be close to you, but not to scold you or condemn you. Not to tell you of the ways you fall short, but to throw his arms around you, kiss you, and celebrate you. (Luke 15:20-21) He wants you to tell him what’s on your heart, how you feel, what you learned, what you saw, how you loved.
And there is a reason for this: You are the one he loves.
-- inspired in part by Jason Gray's song "Remind Me Who I Am" [watch video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSIVjjY8Ou8]