Mom, will you please come and help in my class?
And so I became the almost weekly quizzer of second grade math facts. (I didn’t relish the idea but Leah and her brown eyes)
Each time I quiz them I make observations. Can’t help it. Don’t mean to do it, but already I can discern the alphas…the super smart but kinda awkward…the seriously nervous…the competitor who wants to peek onto my list and compare checkmarks…the fidgety…the messy desk, can’t-find-my-paper.
I kinda want to hug them all.
Sometimes, like today, I just go and eat lunch with Leah. Most of the kids wave and say Hi Ms. Dorsey. I sit down and funny enough — she barely talks to me! — but one or two others chat me up.
Freckles sprayed across his nose. Raspy little boy voice. One of my favorites.
Needy little heart.
Breaks mine a bit.
His living situation is less than optimal. I listen to his basketball story and ask questions. Try to convey my interest. Would like him to know he matters.
For a moment I gaze across the sea of little people. They each have a story. Some of them are thriving and some are broken.
Half hour over. Back to my vehicle with third-born leading the way. I’m thinking about hurt children who grow into hurt adults. And my heart hears this…
Close to the broken-hearted
I recognize Psalmist words. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The answer to the dilemma of life. The only real hope for the hopeless.
The Message paraphrase puts it this way:
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. (Psalm 34:18-20)
Some days…some lives…are a kick in the gut. They break, chip away. Crush. But like an adult who can discern the needy heart in a second grade boy, Creator discerns the grown-up heart we try to hide.
Jesus knows what we need. He offers nearness, encouragement, rest.
Perhaps today is a kick in the gut for you. Perhaps life has been a kick in the gut.
May I encourage you?
When your heart is crushed, Jesus reaches down, comes alongside, runs to catch up.
He is the surprise landing as we free-fall from the pain.
He is the steady hand that holds us when all we want to do is run.
He is clear direction when we can’t see past the fog.
How does Jesus do it? How, really, does He come near?
When random moms mistakenly think they are going to eat lunch with their own kid.
You’re going so He can go.
When random verses cross your mind as your heart is asking questions.
You’re remembering because He’s answering.
When random blog posts show up in your mailbox on the perfect day.
You’re reading so He can remind you.
Jesus lifts the burden so we can breathe. Takes the weight of things we were never meant to carry. Fills every unmet longing with sticky love and supremely reigning grace.
We are, after all, still just freckle-sprayed kids hoping that we matter.
And we do.