I was considering this week, as I was sewing a button onto one of Evie's dresses, all the many garments I have mended through my time as a mom. And I began considering the deeper meaning of "mending."
Two weeks ago Friday, my brother passed away. That evening I was sitting in my bed, crying. Addie was not asleep yet, and she wandered into the room. Daddy said "Addie, give mommy a hug, because she really needs it" (though he did not mention that Phil had passed away; we wanted to wait to talk about that). What you need to know about Addie is that she is one of the sweetest and most sensitive kids in the world (and I'm not just saying that because she's mine!). She crawled up beside me, put her arms around me, very softly kissed my cheek and said, "It's okay, mommy, don't cry. You are the sweetest mommy, and I love you so much." She sat for a few minutes stroking my hair and face, while I cried and hugged her told her how much I loved her, too.
And not that the tears stopped, but that little touch, those dear words, that sincere little kiss, mended my heart like nothing else could.
When I returned from my brother's funeral, I came home to my little girl sobbing. I asked her "Addie? What is the matter?" She proceeded to tell me that she had not been invited to an all-girl birthday party, but all/most of the other girls in her class had been invited. My heart instantly sank, and I could feel her heart breaking in mine. It was quite a big rejection for a seven-year-old to fathom. "Oh Addie," I said, "sit in mommy's lap." We talked about fairness, and how life was not always ripe with that noun. We talked about my love for her, and how the day she was born was one of the best days of my life and daddy's life. We talked about taking the "higher road," making a card for this little girl and wishing her a happy birthday (and meaning it), even though Addie was not invited. We talked about what God would want her to do, and she concluded "love" was the answer (boy, THAT was a proud parent moment!). We talked about being forgiving (and both of us would have to work at that together!). We talked about what the lesson might be in this . . . that we should always love each other and try not to exclude anyone, knowing how it hurts. Then we just sat, and I let her cry, and I hugged her, and cried a little myself.
In families we mend each other. Somehow the bonds of love enable us to bandage one another's intangible wounds. Remember the verse "Jesus wept," when he heard that Lazarus had died? Before the miracle of his raising Lazarus from the grave, there was mending; by his tears, by his presence, by his embracing Mary and Martha, by his love. And a miracle came from the mending.
We are Jesus to each other, in our families, and in the world. Miracles are born of the mending.
And so, we mend.
"Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue."
- Eugene O'Neil
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love.
I'll be a witness in the silences
when words are not enough . . .
- From Testify To Love
by Paul Field, Henk Pool, Ralph Van Manen and Robert Riekerk
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