"When I was a little boy
And the Devil would call my name
I'd say "Now who do,
Who do you think you're fooling?"
I'm a consecrated boy
I'm a singer in a Sunday choir
Oh my mama loves me, she loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
She loves me like a rock
She rocks me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me..."
- Paul Simon
Okay, it may seem like a stretch, but this afternoon while driving to an appointment, I turned on the radio and Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock" started playing. Immediately I found myself thinking about Jesus and his mother.
She loved him. Oh, she loved him. She got down on her knees, and hugged him. It made me cry.
Last weekend I met some moms and dads who love their teens...deeply. They'd volunteered for a conference focused on nurturing the spiritual lives of teen thought-leaders. These moms, dads, and adult mentors gathered on a college campus in the heartland to celebrate spiritual leadership and its promise of peace, health, and collective prosperity in an ever-expanding global community. It wasn't hard to see how much they loved them. I could imagine each one of those teens...with an adoring adult on his/her knees hugging them, loving them, believing in their gifts, celebrating the remarkable thinkers they are...knowing that they can accomplish all good, because they are all good.
I could see each of these adults at the wedding in Cana encouraging a young healer's friends to have faith that the water would become wine. I could imagine each of these precious parents, adult friends and mentors as silent invisible "women" ministering unto their teen's mission and purpose with prayers, and hymns, and spiritual songs all along a dusty road...sometimes steep, often winding, rocky, and rugged. I could hear their calls of encouragement, their whispered prayers for protection and guidance. It wasn't hard to see Jesus' mother encouraging each adult to not lose sight of the vision, to remember what they'ev always known...God is with them...the kingdom of heaven is within every child.
As I drove home from the conference my route took me from the meandering beauty of the River Road ...sailboats gliding lazily, water skiiers laughing as they sliced through the water leaving a wake behind them...to the heart of our city's streets - miles of concrete, hot with Labor Day's humidity and humanity. The "get down on her knees and hug me" kind of love for teens wasn't as easy to see, but it was palpably there in urban neighborhoods. Moms, aunts and grandmas sat on cement stoops braiding hair, drinking sweet tea, and encouraging their sons, daughters, and neighbors to "be safe", help one another, and do something good for someone else. Dads, uncles and grandpas grilled, washed cars, mowed lawns and by example taught their children that family matters, your neighbors deserve your respect, and your word is your pledge. I've lived in this neighborhood, these were my neighbors, their children were, and are, dear to me.
As we get down on our knees and hug our children...of all ages...this week, sending them off to school for the first day of sixth grade...or grad school, I pray we see the world as a place full of children with hopes and dreams...and parents who dream with them in kabbutzes, villages, and cities...in burkas, suits, or sarongs. As we recall our own first dreams for our children's future, their first hopes to become president, physicist, inventor, fireman, or mom...I pray we can stretch our mental arms even further until they reach around all the children of the world...of all ages. Just like our Father-Mother God who asked a unwed teenage mother over 2,000 years ago to believe an angel, walk with dignity, trust a promise, and never lose sight of a grand vision for His child.
I hope you have a wonder-filled weekend and that we can all find a moment to get down on our knees and hug a child's dream...any...and every...child's dream. It's never too late to love them, love them, love them...