Sidewalk Prophets – Love, Love, Love
The time is now 12:02 am (for those of you wondering, yes, 12:02 am Daylight Savings Time.) I’m sitting at my kitchen table eating some weird soup with spinach and meatballs made out of chicken in it. According to the label on the can, this particular soup is “all natural and gluten-free.” The “meatballs “are supposedly made from chickens that were raised on an organic diet in a humane environment.
With the exception of ending up in my soup, I’m thinking those chickens may have had a better quality of life than I do.
I know I should be in bed, asleep, but instead I am sitting here debating the merits of all natural chicken soup and thinking about an interaction I had earlier today with one of my favorite little people in the whole world, 3-year-old Ned. I’ve known Ned now for well over half of her life, and I’d like to think that she has picked up some of her more endearing qualities from me. (Truthfully, my influence probably has very little to do with how completely awesome Ned is. I’m pretty sure Ned has two of the most amazing parents ever to thank for her awesomeness!)
Ned and I always have some pretty interesting, thought-provoking conversations (at least, they are thought-provoking on my end. What can I say, in addition to being super awesome, Ned is super smart!) Today was no exception to the rule, but the way my thoughts were provoked came in a different manner than usual.
Things were trucking along very smoothly this afternoon, when completely out of the blue I heard a wail unlike anything I had ever heard before come from the other side of the room. In a nanosecond, Ned was standing in front of me, holding her finger. (So you can see what I was dealing with here, I took a picture.)
For sure, I thought she had lost a finger by the way she was crying. Normally, Ned is not a big crier. After counting all of her digits to make sure we weren’t missing any, I did the next logical thing and looked for blood. There wasn’t any, not even a drop.
Okay, this was odd.
Next, I checked all of her fingers for a splinter even though I have no idea where she would have gotten a splinter from considering we don’t really have any wood lying around.
I asked Ned to show me where it hurt, and she pointed at one of her fingernails.
Little Miss Ned had broken a nail, and apparently, it was the end of the world.
“Ned, are you sure it really hurts that much? My fingernails break all the time, and it doesn’t usually hurt,” I asked.
“Miss Beth, can’t you see? I’m broken!” Ned wailed, and in a moment of over the top dramatics that would probably have won her a Daytime Television Emmy had she been on a soap opera instead of at daycare, collapsed on the floor.
“Ned, can I get you a Barbie Band-Aid?” I asked.
“No,” she sniffed.
Her bottom lip popped out and began to quiver. I took that as a negative.
“Can I give it a kiss?” I suggested.
“Waaaaah!” she cried, loudly.
“Is there anything I can do to make your owie feel better?” I asked.
Ned stopped crying. “Uh huh,” she said, holding up her finger in front of my face. “I want love love love.”
My heart softened. “Aw, come here sweetheart,” I replied, holding my arms out to her for a hug. “Come, sit with me and I will give you some love!”
The crying started again. “No, I want love love love!” Ned sniffled thru her tears.
I was confused. “Say what?” I asked.
Ned pointed at the stereo. “Love, love, love. Now!”
That’s when it hit me. She wanted to listen to her favorite song, the Sidewalk Prophet’s ‘Love, Love, Love.’
I pulled up the song on the iTouch and immediately all of the other kids began to have a dance party. Everyone, that is except for Ned.
Ned took her wounded finger and laid down on her nap time cot, listening to ‘Love, Love, Love’ on repeat until, miracle of miracles, she was healed.
Later in the afternoon, Ned came and sat with me and together we looked at her finger. The broken part of her fingernail had fallen off, and while Ned was deeply concerned that she was now “missing one of her pieces,” I tried to assure her that what remained was a completely normal looking 3 year old’s pointer finger.
As we examined her finger, Ned looked at me with her chocolate pudding eyes, rested her head against my shoulder and said, “When we have a bad owie and are missing some of our pieces, all we really need to make it better is love, love, love.”
Like I said before, Ned is one smart little cookie.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Ned and her broken fingernail since this afternoon. It occurred to me that perhaps Ned’s broken fingernail is a lot like many of the other hurting souls we all walk amongst every single day. For sure, most people are not going to be as demonstrative about their pain as Ned was today. In fact, a lot of people go to great lengths to cover up their pain to the outside world; yet their pain remains, a throbbing, stubborn hurt that doesn’t go away.
Ned’s words, “Miss Beth, can’t you see? I’m broken!” reverberate in my mind.
I wonder how many times I have glanced at someone else in my daily life who is dealing with this kind of hurt and not really seen the pain that lies beneath. How many times did I walk on by because they weren’t obviously disfigured by their pain? Did I not see, not take the time to care because there wasn’t copious amounts of blood flowing from their pain?
I want to see, Ned, I really do, but sometimes, it’s hard to see the pain of others thru the lens of my own brokenness.
What amazes me the more I think about Ned and her broken fingernail, however, is the fact that at just three years of age, my little friend already knows the answer to our brokenness and pain. She knows what will make us feel better when we hurt.
When we have a bad owie, she knows that all we really need is love, love, love.
I’m pretty sure wiser words have never been spoken by a three-year old anywhere, ever.
Now, here’s the ironic twist to this story. You know how I mentioned I was looking for major wounds, and blood, and splinters when Ned came to me in pain at the beginning of this story?
Well, the love, love, love that heals even the worst owies was first wounded for us so that we might live.
His splinter was a cross.
His blood literally poured from his hands, feet, and sides.
He was completely and utterly broken. For us.
His death and His pain served only to bring healing and redemption. To us.
Until we come to know Him, the Love that has no end, we will remain in our own brokenness and pain, unable to help others or even ourselves; but once we know Jesus, there is no owie that is too deep for Him to heal, no pieces of our hearts that are too finely shattered to be put back together.
While we might not be able to see what is broken, He can.
While we might not be able to find all of the pieces of our broken hearts, He can.
I pray that if you are hurting tonight, you will turn to Him in your brokenness and give Him all of the pieces of your broken heart to put back together again.
Remember, as my friend Ned so wisely said to me earlier today, “When we have a bad owie and are missing some of our pieces, all we really need to make it better is love, love, love.”
Oh, and just one more thing–“God is love.” 1 John 4:8.