Spring ushers in some of my favorite things: sunshine, warmth, birds singing and a multitude of flowers peeking through muddy ground. This spring the birds have been singing, flowers have begun their ascent into full glory, but the sun… ah, the sun. Maybe it was sleeping hard after a long winter and couldn’t be bothered to show its’ face. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, the sun came out to play. Finally. Ecstatically happy and in celebration of the sun, I spent as much time as I could outside. I hiked through the park, attempted to garden a bit, even walked down our lengthy gravelly driveway and road, up the hill to meet my daughter at her bus stop. Normally, I’d drive. Not yesterday. Not a chance. Didn’t even mind pushing her enormous, ancient jogging stroller up the big hill.
Delighted to see me and the stroller, she couldn’t wait to take a ride. She loves taking walks. She loves riding and loves walking. Used to be, she was a bit too unsteady to walk for long on the gravel. She’s grown considerably in strength, in a year’s time. After riding to our driveway, she promptly asked to walk. “Out, Mama. Wanna walk. Please.” Absolutely. Down she went, ready for her hike up the hills in our drive.
Five year olds are inquisitive creatures and my daughter is no exception. With eyes focused on either side of the drive searching for birds, deer and chipmunks, it didn’t take long for her to take a spill. Footing lost; down she went, both hands hitting hard on gravel. Her little face belying shock over what happened. Frustration. Then, the cries of pain. Scooping her up immediately, holding her close to soothe her tears, she calmed. Tiny scraped up palms and sadness in her eyes. It’s heartbreaking to see your child in pain, even if it’s just over a few scrapes.
Scraped hands are brushed off. Tears wiped away. We turn to continue our walk. Afraid to take another step, my daughter moves slowly. Cautiously. “Sofia, do you want to hold my hand?” I ask. “Yes,” she mumbles through left-over tears. I hold out my right hand to her, which she grasps solidly with her left. Tiny hand in mine, I begin to take a step. Before my foot hits the ground, another little hand shoots out, desperately grabbing for my hand. Two little hands tighten their grip on mine. The ferocity with which she holds on startles me. It’s as if she doesn’t trust herself. One hand holding on is good, but two are better. Both hands in mine, I steady her for our hike home.
As we walk together, I’m reminded of the times in my life I’ve been walking along, enjoying the scenery, unaware I’m about to lose my footing. Then, the fall. Painful, surprising spills on the road of life when I’ve longed to hold on to someone bigger and stronger. After falling, I’m stunned and shocked by the hurt of whatever’s thrown me off balance. At times, I’ve been afraid to keep going. Over time, I’ve learned to raise my head, tears falling and hold out both hands reaching for the God who offers me His right hand to steady me.
I walk in His strength, in the knowledge He can lead me safely on my journey. I’ve learned I can’t make it alone. So I reach out and grip with both hands, the hand offered me. I take it, hopefully without question. Sometimes, with questions nagging. I’m grateful for the help. He’s always been faithful. He always leads with love. I can only hope that’s what my daughter sees, when she reaches out to me. And that, in turn, she’ll learn to reach out for Him.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT