A dear friend of mine related a recent story to me this past weekend. It seems that she was hoping that her mom would be willing to part with an old hair drier. But when she took it to her mom and said “You have a new one, can this be mine?” her mom instantly erupted into tears. My friend felt horrible about making her mom cry and offered instead to buy a new hair drier herself.
Her mom then told this story. When my friend was a very young child, she would carry something in to where her mother was and say “can this be mine?” Her mother would always respond appropriately. If it was a pearl necklace or a curling iron, her mother would say no. If it was a hair clip or a bow, then she would say “yes, that can be yours.” So when she asked about the hair drier, her mom was flooded with all of those memories of her tiny little girl.
I’m struck by the sheer simplicity of this story and the number of ways it resonates with me. For starters, I’m ashamed at the parallels between this story and my relationship with God. There have been times in my life where I asked him for everything. He was the one I held responsible for every gift whether I received it or not. I wonder, is that still the case?
Perhaps that’s just a part of maturing. As we learn to trust our parents, we spend less time selfishly picking up every shiny object we pass just to ask if we can have it. As we learn to trust Him, we start to open our eyes to the good gifts He surrounds us with daily, rather than on the ones we beg to have. At the same time, when we do ask for something, it carries weight for both of us, and it often results in a conversation much longer than a simple yes or no.
As kind of a corollary to this train of thought, I think “Can this one be mine?” would be a wonderful addition to a wedding vow or a proposal. The acknowledgement that He is an important part of the union by stopping to ask His permission seems to me to be that deepest form of romance: a modest request for an eternity of love.
But then I find a much deeper parallel between this story and my own. In my mind, I see myself lying face down in the gutter, unshaven, unshowered, unkempt, my clothes tattered and soiled, my body and spirit broken. I lay there without hope, without joy, without peace, a life marked only by pain and sorrow and bitterness. And it is next to this pathetic lump of clay that Jesus kneels down and says “Daddy, can this one be mine?”
Great story, Mike.
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