Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Proverbs 23: 26
Give me your heart, my son,
And let your eyes delight in my ways.
I don't know of a scripture that has hit me as hard about parenthood as this one.
Earlier in this proverb, there are a number of admonitions to sons: don't do stupid stuff, son, you'll break yer mama's heart. Said much better than that, of course. And it's all really, really good advice.
But this verse, right here, gets to the fundamental essence of being a parent.
First, Give me your heart. The promise of "I'll take good care of it" is implicit. Give me your heart. Trust me. Give me your heart. Believe in me. What an audacious statement! What parent would DARE to say to their older-than-10 child, "give me your heart?" And yet, isn't that what we are saying to them, with everything we do? Even if we don't ever, ever say those words? Isn't every act of loving and caring for a child saying , give me your heart?
My grandson came over on Friday. He's not quite three months old. And, at the start of the visit, he was fussy. His tummy was upset, and he was cranky, and he didn't want his pacifier, and he didn't want anything. But ya know what? I could hold him, and bounce with him to help him jiggle those burps up, and I quietly sang him nonsense...and he would quiet down. And I nuzzled him, and kissed his head, and told him I loved him, and held him close.
And it was all saying, give me your heart.
Of course, the only way I could say to Heath, give me your heart, is because I have already given my heart to him. He had it before I nuzzled him; he had it before he was born, he had it before he was conceived; he had it when we sat around the kitchen table twenty years ago and I prayed for those my children would marry, and their children, and their children's children. So, because Heath has my heart, I can ask him to give me his heart.
And that's what the Bible says, too; that's what it means when it says, For God so loved the world.
Second, Let your eyes delight in my ways. Watch me closely, son! Do what I do! Enjoy it!
Where is the weight falling with THAT particular transaction? You betcha! It's absolutely falling on me. See what I'm doing! I'm not gonna hide anything from you. I'm not going to keep hidden secret sins; I'm not even going to hide the cookies from you. Well; I MIGHT hide the cookies from you, if you eat too many cookies. But mostly, I'm going to make my life an open book to you, and I want you to turn the pages, and make bookmarks, and notes in the margins.
And speaking of margins: I've read Proverbs more than any other book of the Bible. And I've made notes. And comments. And dated some of them. And I have annotated the verse above this AND the verse below this; why? why? why? why has it never clicked in me before what this verse is saying? I didn't get this from a commentary; I was just reading it. Today is the 23rd of April, and this is Proverbs 23, so I read it. I guess it's just that...I was ready.
And it's a good thing, too. Vanessa and I are raising two of her grandchildren. And I have to make sure I have given them my heart. Because I will be saying to them, give me your heart; let your eyes delight in my ways.
I don't think it's an option.