Granddaughter: I love being 7; it’s the middle of life! I am finally a big kid. There’s baby, toddler, big kid, teenager and grown up. I am right in the middle.
Grandson: What about Grandma?
Granddaughter: Ok and grandma stage, but I am still in the middle.
Kids have a way of keeping us humble. They look at life with eyes wide open to all the possibilities and none of the limitations. The world is large. Time is endless. Hobbits and elves live under the next tree. Faeries dance under silvery moonlight in a mushroom ring. Unicorns race on sunbeams.
Perhaps it is because I turned in my resignation for my after school job that my students have been tugging at my arms – literally. Tuesday, one of my younger students discovered my grandma arms. You know – the arms that are more flab than muscle – especially on the underside? The next couple of days, she spent a lot of time grabbing my “squishy” arms – kneading them – rubbing her face on them – and showing all her friends how they jiggle. I felt like a koosh ball.
Memories are often paybacks as well as treasures.
I had to laugh along with her as I remembered curling into the “squishy” arms and lap of my own Grandma Mac. There was just something special about her “squishiness” that spoke of love to me. As I grew older, “squishy” arms were also a source of entertainment. Long ago my own 8th grade English teacher had those blessed arms. When she wrote on the board in the spring and fall, her short sleeved dresses quickly brought our attention on target. “Squishy” arms swaying back and forth. Occasional chalk squeaking along in accompaniment. We snorted and wrote notes. Laughed behind our hands. Rolled our eyes as we focused on the topic at hand – at least until she stopped writing and talked about grammar. 8th graders are not always nice, but maybe that is why they are still my favorite grade to teach.
Children know how to keep me humble. Students. Grandkids. It doesn’t matter. They do God’s work in this crazy world and keep me humble.
God is good about finding ways to keep me humble. Like that koosh ball, He gently kneads me – encouraging the yeast to activate within me so that I rise to my highest potential. Slammed against the floured board. Stretched here. Air bubbles trapped there. Pulled between this hand and that hand. Hummmmm…is it any wonder that I think I really don’t like this koosh ball analogy at all.
And then –
Just when I think I’m about to be torn into a million pieces –
My “squishiness”returns. I bounce back into shape, and find I can bounce higher than ever.
I guess, God designed us with this softness – this “squishiness”. Sometimes we let it control our lives. Sometimes we bury it deep inside of us – hidden from view. Sometimes we just acknowledge it and smile. Best of all – when I generally smile the most – I remember that God designed us in His own image. Today, I am wondering if He has “squishy” arms – or a squishy lap – or a squishy heart? I’m guessing the next time I curl into his lap for a good cry, I will have to try and find out.
“Come unto me, all of you who labor and are forced to bear burdens, and I shall give you rest.” Matt 11:28