We were so happy to have our little 8-year old friend, Lizzie, come stay with us a few weeks ago. We love this girl and her family. She's a really complex child...extremely deep but extremely hilarious.
Liz came on Thursday night and left on Monday afternoon. During that time, we played lots of games, watched lots of movies, washed the cars, did a little exercising and a little eating, and we also went to church. Before church, Liz said to me, "No offense, Auntie Cynthia, but sometimes I get really bored in church." I said, "That doesn't offend me, Liz. I got bored at your age too. That's why we packed some quiet things for you to do...just in case."
Liz was amazing, sitting and looking around or softly taking things out of the bag I had packed to occupy her (extremely active) mind.
Meanwhile Deacon Shane was preaching on loving every person,
even those outside of your "inner circle;"
even those difficult to love;
even those who have sinned or hurt you or who are different from you.
It was a beautiful talk.
Halfway through it, moved to tears by the homily, I looked significantly at my husband to see if he was getting as much as I was from the Deacon's words. I found him, not moved to tears but to laughter. When I glanced down to where he was looking, I found Liz writing in a self-made journal entitled "Me and My Life Now."
The then completed excerpt read: "OK, let me give you some advice for church. It is really fun, but kind of boring. I can't believe church is one hour. I don't want to be trapped in here forever."
I went from choking back tears to choking back giggles. What a juxtaposition of age and personalities...one woman fighting to gain control over her tears while one child fights feeling trapped! Hilarious.
Liz continued to write. "The glass pictures of Jesus on the walls glow. Jesus is important, of course. I know that he's the guy who created me." I told you...she's deep. And I loved, of course, that she called Him "the guy."
Liz summed up her experience at our church with these thoughts: "Oh! I think it will end now at this point. A prayer is going on now so I guess I'll write this for the time. One second ago, EVERYONE was singing. Now it is over or not the end. They're singing again. AAAAAAAAAH! WHEN WILL IT END!?"
Yes, the caps were all her.
But here's the amazing thing. When I was leaving church that day, I stopped by Deacon Shane's table to pick up some art pages for the kids to color for the prison inmates his ministry supports. Lizzie and my kids, Colleen and Braden, colored the pages for these guys and wrote a message, as suggested, for the recipient to read. Liz's message?
"Learn to love all and all will love you."
I showed it to Drew and he said, "That's exactly what Deacon Shane was preaching on yesterday."
Oh my gosh.
I didn't even make the connection.
She had gotten it all.
Those journal words she wrote in church may have helped her pass the time, but the words the deacon spoke were truly written on her heart.