I believe I mentioned yesterday that we do lots of things with flowers during Holy Week. Not long ago, Deedaw invited me to raid her stash of artificial flowers and other craft supplies, which have been waiting in an airtight container for almost twenty years to be taken out and loved. Fortunately, our daughters are always willing to give a little love to an underappreciated flower or fifty, and they are tremendously excited to have such a bounty of beauty for their creations.
Speaking of beauty, I reblogged a picture accompanied by a quote from Corrie ten Boom this morning. The tribe and I spent a lot of time talking about that general topic today, in a very gentle context. It was more along the lines of loving the people who aren’t our enemies, though. Whenever strife was primed to break out between two of them, I reminded them that Christ called us to love each other, and asked them if they were responding with love or something else.
I heard a whole lot of “I love him/her, but . . .” I reminded them, frequently, that even when someone wrongs us, we can point it out to them, but screaming, shoving, and name-calling are not required. We can speak gently and still make the point that the chocolate and the hand holding it do not belong to the same person. We can decide whether we really have to play with that toy right now, or whether our brother or sister can have it for a while. We can love enough that when a little voice pipes up with, “I’m sorry,” we can give the speaker a hug and a kiss and forgive her or him, and explain what was hurtful about the behavior.
We made little standups of the risen Jesus, ardorned with flowers, this evening. While we worked, we talked about how Jesus was born and died so that we could be forgiven for our transgressions against the Lord and His people. That led us pretty naturally to a little conversation how we are obligated to forgive those who hurt us, and to forgive them as often that is necessary. For now, their hurts are pretty much limited to retrieving purloined toys. I reminded them that the need to forgive as we ask to be forgiven doesn’t mean that we have to keep putting ourselves in positions where we’re going to be hurt — and that putting their toys away properly will probably reduce the likelihood that they’ll be pilfered by their siblings. I also reminded them that if they respect their siblings’ things, they’re showing how they expect to be treated.
The more painful example I gave them was when I’ve used a sharp or angry tone and angry words towards them. I told them that even Mommy and Daddy make mistakes, and that sometimes we realize we’ve made them when we see our children repeating what we’ve said or using a tone they’ve heard come from our mouths. We all cause pain, and we all feel it, too.
A quick rundown on the project: open all the flaps on an empty cereal box, then cut down one of the folds. Fold a large side in half, then re-fold the box, inside out, to make a triangle with blank sids. Tape the triangle together at a corner. Fold the upper and lower flaps inside the triangle to give the structure stability (you’ll need to cut the folded flap). Draw an outline of Christ, let the kids color Him as they see Him, cut out the picture, and attach it to the big flat side with glue dots or glue. Give the children fabric or construction paper flowers and let them surround their picture of Jesus with them. Here’s a photo gallery for you:
Today’s prayer: Lord, You command us to love our enemies, and promise that You will give us the the love to follow Your command. Help me remember You promise to grace our hearts with enough love for everyone we meet, and help me teach Your blessings that forgiveness is the greatest gift You gave us. Please help us share, and teach, that grace freely.