“I hear yelling – what’s going on up there?” I yell from the kitchen sink. I’m doing dishes downstairs, but I can hear the stomping of little feet above me, along with the occasional, “nooooooo!” and “ahhhhhh!” I jump the steps two at a time and arrive at my son’s bedroom to find him (four years old) and my daughter (two years old) wrestling on the bed. He wants to have a pillow fight. She wants to play blanket cave. Apparently, there’s not enough space or bedding to do both. Cue the mom lecture on being kind to one another and finding a way to play together.
This is turning into a frequent occurrence in my house right now. As my littles are growing into kids, they are also growing into their individual personalities, desires, preferences. It’s awesome, but it also means they struggle more. They’re learning how to respond to the world, to us as parents, and to each other. I’ve had lots of hard moments and good moments as a parent. But the times I feel proud – when I relax into the joy of watching my children grow up – are when they are good to each other. Even more than how they interact with me, when they snuggle, laugh together, when they apologize to each other and mean it – those are the moments I feel like they’re getting it.
The Night he was Betrayed
It’s Maundy Thursday, and today we read one of my favorite scenes in the Bible. It’s just hours before Jesus is betrayed, and I think it’s worth taking note of how he decides to spend this last evening with his disciples. He washes them, he feeds them, he gives them a new command: “Love one another.” Of all the final messages or instructions he could’ve given, of all the ways he could have used that last evening, he chose to spend it teaching his disciples about servant leadership and a “new commandment” that is really not all that new. Rather, it’s another way of saying in concrete terms what it means to love God.
As a person who spends a lot of time washing, feeding, and telling tiny humans to love one another, is it any wonder this feels comforting and familiar? I wouldn’t say that scripture is something that comes easily to me, or that I often relate to the people we read about in its pages. But this is a moment where I feel like I get it – like I can step into Jesus’ shoes and at least somewhat understand where he’s coming from. I think Jesus knows the measure of following him is not just how his disciples relate to him when he’s right in front of them – another test is coming in how they will treat each other once they’re on their own.
As a parent, it feels differently to me when I have to tell my son to share with his sister, than when I catch him sharing with her of his own volition. I’m guessing it’s the same with God. But what are we to do with a world full of escalating rivalries and conflicts and no parents around to help us find a way to love each other? I pray that the mystery of the next few days plumbs the depth of Jesus’ new commandment and shows us the way.