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The Red Pencil-Colored Heart

We can’t take anything with us into the next life but I don’t know a mom who doesn’t try. Or, at least one who won’t keep a child’s note or gift or sweet remembrance until her very last inhale.

They’re in a drawer in the chest next to her bed, or in the dresser where she keeps her intimate things. They’re tucked away on a shelf in her closet or kept in a special box hidden away.

And sometimes she’ll pull them out for inhalation, drinking deeply from the memories that scrape loose from the back of her mind, pure oxygen released into blood. Or she’ll stumble upon them in a moment of need, like an unexpected gift in the mail, when the world seems spinning out of control and time, like grains of sand lost through her fingers, is something she feels she’s running out of.

Then, stepping back through the drifts, she’ll find them again, if for only a moment, and there she’ll be afforded an opportunity to remember all that’s good in the world.

I'm cleaning out my bedroom this morning, unearthing artifacts like an archeologist on a dig, quarrying for treasure. Twice a year my church has a giant garage sale to benefit the community. Twice a year my bedroom gets cleaned. Just kidding. But the sale does force me to take my own little community apart for the benefit of others occasionally.

And so, in emptying my closet and a dresser at once, I find my artifacts, my sweetest treasures. A red heart colored in, a bracelet strung for Mommy, a bouquet of hand-made flowers, a water-color painting, a first pair of ice skates worn…

And I remember.

I am flooded with an understanding of real, honest and true, love. Again.

The kind only a child can have for a parent.

An all-consuming, perfect love.

The very definition of un-conditional.

So I remember.

How it felt to be so passionately loved.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that a child’s love isn’t available as they get older. It’s just that since my kids are now teenagers and adults, our love looks different. It’s mature.

And loyal.

But it will never be as fiercely adoring as it was when I was called “Mommy”, when a small, growing heart loved nothing else like it did me.

When that love was enough.

Simply enough.

I sift through my treasures, delighting in the way they make me feel, taking me back to that place where I felt this.


“This,” I hear a voice say, “is exactly how I feel about you.”

Jesus loves me like This.

With an all-consuming, fanatical, passionate obsession. With delight and wonder and amusement. Like I will always love my children. No matter where they are or what they do.

And it occurs to me that as God’s child, This is the way I should love him. With the innocent love of a child. A loyally exclusive, honorably reckless, chest-hurting longing sort of love.

Apart from material comfort and regardless of response. The kind that simply trusts in the realness of it.

The kind that would want nothing but to make something, or to color red in a heart, as the best treasure possible.



Kansas City, Kansas l jm@jmhuxley.com

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