Little girl sitting in living room chair, sun streaming through open window shades carving lines of shadow on her face. Breath catches in throat. Eight years old. Red dress with two kittens on the front. My Kitten. Pink polka dots on sleeves. Legs crossed so I can see the crotch of her tights stretched taught somewhere across mid-thigh. (tights!) Bright orange panties. She doesn't notice. She reads poetry to me. Her long, slender fingers cradle the book, and I wonder if she will grow to love words as much as her mama. Sometimes, she will hold the book up for me to look at the pictures. She tells me I might be afraid of this one...the one about the woman who has gone for a ride on a tiger, only to return from the ride, "inside". The tiger is smiling at the end of that poem. I am smiling at the poetry being read on the inside of me while little one reads. Words. She catches their rhythm. Falls in love with the pictures they paint. She asks me what the big words mean, then says, "Oh. I get it!"
No wonder painter's paint. No wonder photographer's expose the human face time and time. Light and light. I want to hold this moment forever. Keep it. If she were a statue, I might bow down to her. And for this reason, the Lord is Lord all. And I am the god of nothing.
She has asked me to write a story with her about a knight who falls in love. I try to steer her away from such silliness and she agrees to title it, Princess to the Rescue. In the end, even though the prince gets rescued by the princess, my Kitten won't have it any other way. The Prince must rescue her in return. This really gets me. Makes me think. Contemplate some things. Ah! Contemplation!
Little Mary has no problem with being rescued by a knight in shining armour. This girl doesn't even blush at words like "darling" and "true love" . Doesn't bat an eyelash at all the romance going on in the story. The knight confessing his undying love. The princess returning his love with her beauty and a closet full of dresses that abound in ribbon, labor under lace.
Why am I irritated with her? Why do I keep trying to convince her that the princess can rescue herself AND her man? She keeps turning the story back around so that she is always being cared for, being called "darling" and being cradled in her knights arms. Did I mention that she is not blushing? Even as her brothers mill around? Even as her sister rolls her eyes? Even as I try to make the princess in our story "strong"? And why do I feel dirty? Like I'm stealing something from her?
Is that incurable romanticism planted in us by the Savior? I wonder. Does the only One Who can love us like that carve the empty place inside our hearts...all hearts, so that we will be always disappointed with our earthly knights? Never satisfied. Really? Are we meant to get around that notion so that we begin to see our husbands, not as rescuers, but as dear brothers in Christ? Am I even making sense? Maybe the Lord wires us to need to be rescued. To be called "darling". To find out that only He can do it. Really.
And what of our knights? Must they too come to the end of trying to rescue us from our castle keeps of insecurity? From trying to convince us that we are not dumb or ugly or fat? What happens when they realize that they will never be enough, never be strong enough, romantic enough or winsome enough to rescue us from ourselves? Mustn't they then either fall on their swords or on the great saving power of Christ? "Oh,God, save me from this great body of death!"
Mary redirects the story again. Back to The Knight Who Fell in Love, and I begin to shift as well.
Savior. He can move the mountains.
Our God is mighty to save. Mighty to save.
He is coming again, you know. This Jesus. And I believe He will be riding on a white cloud horse. Suddenly, my precious daughter seems wise beyond her years, and I begin to look, again, for my saving Prince. Perhaps even today!