Friday, July 27, 2012

Plain Jane, Part 2

A few days ago Peanut got a decent little scrape across her ankle. We were at the playground and she came running over, tearful, looking for a kiss, which I gladly gave. She sniffed, wiped her eyes, and said, "Now I don't have plain skin."

That kid. Always thinking. Always looking for ways to prove me wrong, to wiggle out from under discipline, to bend and stretch until the definitions do not fit. I love it. And I love that she heard me.

Sometimes I feel like everything is uphill, that I am investing myself in the wrong conversations with my kids, my colleagues, my neighbors, whoever. So Peanut and her bloody ankle was a sweet little gift that gives me hope that the things we try to teach our children around the table, over chores, at bedtime, sometimes find their way into the "real world" of playgrounds and schoolyards where kids get chosen last, left out, and pushed around. Her little scrape reminds me that we handed out bookmarks at our wedding with the text of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, mostly as a reminder to ourselves that we wanted God to establish, in our marriage, a home where he would be always welcome, always seasoning the conversation. I love the Deuteronomy text, sometimes referred to as the Shema Yisrael, because it is intended to be repeated daily since we are forgetful, distracted people.

I still haven’t written anything on the doorframe of our house. But I think I know what I want it to say:

Grow in grace
Go in peace
Remember whose you are

Maybe I’ll go buy a fat marker today and get down to it. Because I already feel the desperate closing down of summer. And sooner than I like, we will all be going back into our schoolyards. And I want our comings and goings to be seasoned with a grounded remembering.

Deuteronomy 4:6-9: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

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