Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Time To Embrace

“Toast ‘em! Toast ‘em! Put them in the toaster!
Toast ‘em! Toast ‘em! DING! All Done!”

Throwing his arms open, a small girl tumbles forward like a giggling sunbeam, “Do it again Daddy! Do it again!” Running back to be encircled with his strong arms, she begins to chant the ditty with him. There is a safeness in being snuggled close and in hearing his heartbeat slow and steady through his shirt.

Tenderly held in the firelight of the woodstove, and cradled in the softness of the lullaby,

“If I could, I would give you wings
To carry you out of the storm
Take you higher then the wind
And you’d be safe and warm.”

Her voice is dusky, lilting in time with the creaks of the cushioned rocker. A tousled towhead is nestled into her neck, blinking slowly… and slower until his dark lashes rest on his flushed cheek.

“If the smell of a campfire was bottled – I’d wear it!” The athletic bounce in her voice is identical to the vigor in her step when she hikes mountain ridges in search of a “good view”.

Wrapped snug in her arms, we chuckle as the sparks spin upward to join the stars. Her hugs are as warm and nourishing as her cinnamon rolls, and she sways gently and talks about life… her kids, her husband, the fields, calves, Andy Griffith, Italy, the sunset, and Spunky the cat.

High on the list of endangered species and natural resources is an item of inestimable worth, one that is rapidly becoming one of the scarcest commodities on the planet. Among pandas, pure water, Siberian tigers, rainforests, and whales - there is one thing for which humanity is starving.

Have you guessed? It is a simple hug!

Granted, some would vehemently argue that an honest and hearty handshake is even nearer to extinction. But I maintain that if the frequency of heartfelt hugs increased, more people would grow up having internalized the ethics from which a good handshake develops.

Hugs are among the most wonderful renewable natural resources available to mankind, but unfortunately many people are suffering from a severe deficiency. Manipulating hugs, cheap hugs, and indifferent hugs are more then plentiful. A safe, warm, and sincere embrace is rare.

He was born into this world with an embracing heart, an indomitable Spirit of hope, and a mission to encircle the earth with a bright-eyed and captivating love.

Not pious, polished, or political.
No air of importance, no façade, no indifference.

“And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.” Mark 10:16

There was no distance of difference.
He stood in the middle - informal, unprofessional, and completely down-to-earth.
Open arms, open heart.

“God, who in Heaven surrounded by living creatures and myriads of angels would on earth touch ulcers, and hold children, and tell stories, and wash dirty feet.” God Cares p. 337

Certainly not the traditional picture of the Divine Omnipotent, but real, approachable, and huggable! When we become captivated by His love, our own hearts become enlarged to embrace others – to embrace the world.

Will you embrace your world?

For He is the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2nd Corinthians 1:4


Alex said...

It is good to see another's thoughts on the matter - I agree with you that "If the frequency of heartfelf hugs increased, more people would grow up having internalized the ethics from which a good handshake develops"... you don't get home from work and give your five-year-old a handshake... but neither should you be disrespectful of the personal space of the pastor who's church you are vusiting.

As far as a pack trip at camp is concerned; I like the idea of it and you may be able to help figure out how to make it possible - I have not done one before and I don't know exactly what you have in mind but there are some obstacles that would make my idea of a pack trip difficult to remain within reason. With younger kids we could go on a long loop of trail, sleep at the indian village and then take the long route back(the indian village is a few hundred yards from the stables although out of sight but we can get there on a much longer path)... but you couldn't fool teen campers that way. Let me know what you had in mind.

Caitlin said...

:) I have to much fun being obstinate. Christy and Joel have helped me not be so stubborn... but please understand, I never advocate disrespect. I was just describing another facet of the prism.

About the pack trip; I've only done it with teen campers - but the I think it would be an awesome experience for the younger ones too!

Since I'm not familiar with the camp and its trails, its hard to say. Is there any other place along the lake that we could ride to that is farther away?
Even if that isn't an option, we could still just take a long ride, and camp out with them somewhere nearby - because it is the fun of sleeping under the stars, cooking over the fire, telling campfire stories - you know. It could still be a really special "pioneer" sort of adventure. I'm excited!

How many kids do you think there would be?

Alex said...

I would email you but your address isn't on your blogger profile - you can email me and/or talk to Andrew W.

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Paul said...

Alex talked posted about handshakes, Catlin posted about hugs, perhaps it shall fall to me to blog about the need to increase the amount of holy kissing. My Tahitian friends are certainly free
from lack in this department.

Happily, we serve a God who is big enough to shake with us shakers (that's my camp), hug with the huggers, and kiss the kissers.

Sadly, our culture has developed so that there are many times in which hugging and kissing are inappropriate. Happily, heaven will be a different story.

Caitlin said...

Paul, you should consider it - for would be a most interesting blog!

In Brazil the people heartily do all three; shaking, hugging, and kissing!

But I do agree that in heaven the ratio will be perfected ;)