I learned about that from a not-even-2-year-old!
Last night, I had the opportunity to spend the evening with Elliott. Ashley went to spend some time with her mom since we have been traveling so much and it was up to Popi to take care of the compact ball of energy that is my son. I love spending time with him and now that he is getting older he talks and communicates a lot more than when he was a baby. I forget sometimes that he isn’t even 2 yet because he really is like dealing with a little person now, not a baby.
Anyway, we decided to play at the house a little bit, then we went to the Army/Navy store to get a couple things. In true Elliott fashion, he played with his wooden airplane (it’s a tailwheel too so I’m proudJ) in the back seat until we got there. Once we were checking everything out he began to start up his own conversation with the man behind the counter, the man says “Hey, little buddy!, How are you?” to which my son replies,” Good, buddy – what doin’” I don’t think the salesman was expecting that.
Elliott proceeded to hand my card over and then talk about the colors of the rope and how many we had bought. As we are walking out he turns around and says, “ Bye, buddy”.
I smile and think about how personal he is with others.
Then I decide to take him to dinner. So after talking about all the options, he decided that “buh-gers” or burgers, is what he wants…..I decided to take him to Krystals because he had never been. As we walk in the first thing I notice is that there is a lady in line, with all respect, she is not the kind of person that we just flock to to try and be friends with. I don’t know her situation but she looked (and smelled) homeless, the few teeth she had were rotten and stained from cigarettes and she was about 300 lbs overweight. (Just so everyone understands, I am not being critical or judgmental here, this is the reality). So as Elliott proceeds to the small chair that spins and decides that he is going to try each one out; I stand in line and think about what we are going to eat.
The lady in front turns around and tells me that my son is adorable, I smile and thank her and carry on a couple-sentence conversation. Then Elliott comes up and wants to “show me” his new jungle gym ( the small, round, spinning seats). She again comments on how smart he is because I was talking to him in Spanish. I ordered and sit down with him to wait on our food. She also sits down just a few seats away from me and begins to talk a little with Elliott and me. She asks about how he knows Spanish and Portuguese, talks about her own son starting school and continually mentions Elliott’s awareness and intelligence. I had the opportunity to tell her about what God was doing with us and why we were missionaries and what he had called us to do. We had a great conversation and she was a very sweet lady. Elliott also spoke with her and hammed it up a little.
After her food was ready, she told Elliott bye, as she came over to give him a five, he proceeded to fall out of his chair trying to hug her. So I helped him out and he hugged her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. You could tell that she really was surprised and happy that he did that.
And I was convicted.
My 20 month old son had just taught me a valuable lesson – again. He has the ability to love like Christ and I don’t even think about it. The truth is, if it weren’t for him, I would not have even spoken to her. Not out of spite or judgment but just because there would have been no “need”. Yet my son saw her as a “friend” just like anybody else that smiles and waves at him. He knew that he cared enough about her to show affection and go as far as a hug and kiss.
I had the opportunity to share about Christ because my son was willing to love someone that world (and many “christians”) would mock, ridicule, judge, and stay away from. And the most amazing thing- it was totally natural for him. He didn’t have to fake it and I didn’t force him, he is a child. He has not yet had the feelings of pride or superiority or judgment. He showed love because that’s what he was shown.
He didn’t feel sorry for her, he didn’t pity her. He showed her love and affection and genuine interest (as much as a 20 month old can)
I want to be more like my son. I’ll be honest, the first thing I felt for her was pity, not love. I was sorry for her that she was the way she was, but I didn’t seek to be her friend.
Jesus disciples were his friends, not just his ministry. He loved them, he didn’t pity their nature and inferiority, he loved them, chose them and redeemed them.
I can’t wait to see what my son teaches me in the future. I pray that he always stays as loving and accepting as he is now. I can honestly say that I was able to glorify God by sharing his plan, works and grace in our life because MY son, a toddler, was willing to love.