Maria. I wanted to share some of the recent stories about my daughter, things that have touched my heart–things that I am surprised by, but less and less each time.
Sometimes, I feel like my heart is the grinch’s shriveled red heart. And that it’s this soul, the one God aligned in my life, which is making it grow, maybe passing that first white chalkline.
Maria genuinely loves people. Loves them. She thinks they are cute.
As we drive along in our car, she points them out to me, while I focus ahead. It’s a middle aged women, stalled at the light next to us, “Oh mama, look, she so cute! Look, her hair so cute in a pony tail…” she smiles.
Me, gazing over, “Umm–well, I guess…” (And that’s me trying, seriously, trying to even see her) knowing this woman’s cuteness is not something that would have ever stood out to me. To me, she just looked busy, or grumpy. But she did have a cute pony tail, I suppose.
“Yeah, hun,” I told her.
She notices little girls in sun dresses with their dads, “Look how cute!” she remarks, so happy to see them as we drive by. Young and old, smiling or frowning, they will get a happy smile from a brown eyed girl, with a heart who genuinely enjoys seeing them.
At dinner, we always do highs and low, usually three highs and one low. When we have guests, Maria’s first high is that, “That you are here!” she smiles at them. Last week, my friend Mary told me, “You know what, that really meant a lot to me, she was genuinely so happy to see me–I can’t remember the last time someone said that and meant it as much.”
“She means it,” I told her, contemplative, seeing what it meant to her.
The other day, my wallet had been missing for–close to a week. Honestly, it’s not even that uncommon for me, ‘It’ll turn up!’ But then I starteded worrying.
“What’s wrong mama?” she asked me, concerned.
“Oh, I just can’t find my wallet, but it’ll turn up, I need to call the zoo,” as I shrugged it off.
“Oh no, mama,” she said, and, over her shoulder, “I find it for you…” and she dashed off. In an instant.
And took time, her time, to look in every area she could think of, quickly, with great effort. Just because she knew I was concerned, even though I was acting like I wasn’t, even to myself.
“It’s fine,” my m.o.
And ten minutes later, she bounds down the deck steps, with my wallet high over her head.
“It was under the front seat of the truck!” she told me. A location that was not easy to think of, or get into. But she did, for me.
“Maria,” I told her as the relief of not calling the DMV or card companies, and other things that were beginning to stack up in my brain slipped away. I hadn’t asked her to help, or even thought she would find it.
“Maria–” I didn’t even know what to say–I was realizing how much it meant to me, like she really saw how I was feeling, even when I didn’t.
She took her time, her energy, to help me over something that she could tell had me down. Such a trivial thing, right? A lost item. Most people would have shown concern, offered hopeful words, “You’ll find it!”
But she got up and searched until it was found.
She embodies this phrase to me,
“Sympathy is no substitute for action,” David Livingston
It’s funny, Andrew and I went into adoption with grand intentions to live by loving, to teach by loving.
And more often than not, I think I may be the student.
I didn’t know I had a grinches heart, I thought I had more love in there, but it’s when I see Maria extending love further than I would have thought, in actions I wouldn’t have done, in enthusiasm and gratitude I didn’t have–
And instead of the example, I want to learn.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.