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Expressions of Love

July 26th, 2013by Bob Wurzelbacher

cloverI was taking a walk around my neighborhood with my two daughters just last night, as we frequently do when the weather is good, right before bed.  Some days the two girls want to go along at more or less the same pace, and other days, not so much. This was one of those other days.

Talia, the 17-month old, was stopping frequently, and we were getting to the point where I was ready to pick her up and carry her to get home before we were terribly late in meeting her bed time. As I turned around for the umpteenth time and kindly reminded her, “Come on, Talia, we have to keep going! It’s almost time for bed!” she picked one of those little white weeds that look a little bit like small flowers out of my neighbor’s yard, ran up to me and handed it to me with a really big smile.  I, being the wonderful father I am, naturally thanked her,  dismissively put the weed in my pocket,  picked her up and rushed on home to get the going to bed process started.  I promptly forgot all about that flower and it probably ended up in the laundry.

I obviously didn’t give it much thought at the time, but upon reflection, it nearly brings me to tears. At 17 months, she cannot yet say, “I love you” (although she has, for months now, been able to repeat something that sounds like that immediately after we say it).  But seeing what she thought looked like a flower, picking it, and offering it to me with such excitement, was probably about the best she could do to say, “I love you.”  And yet, at the time, I was much more concerned with getting her to bed on time.

This brought me to consider how often I make any effort to express my love for God.  Yes, I go to Church. Yes, I pray daily. Yes, I try my best to take care of my family as God calls me to do.  But are my efforts anything better than mere weeds in comparison to the perfection of God?  And yet, unlike my reaction to Talia’s offering, how gracious is our God in accepting our offerings?  How understanding is our God, knowing that we are where we are spiritually, and nothing more can be expected right now?  And how patient is our God, waiting in patient hope that, through grace, we will grow to be able to offer so much more than mere weeds, but our entire lives.

Here’s to my daughter, for her expression of love for me.  And here’s to all of us, for the grace to know how much God loves us, and the growth to be open to be where He is calling us to be.

Bob Wurzelbacher

Bob Wurzelbacher serves as Associate Director for the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. He also serves as Pastoral Associate for Liturgy at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in Reading. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Cindy, and two young daughters.