I’d finished getting ready for work one early morning, ready to walk out the door, when I heard a little cry from my newborn. So I set my bag down and walked back into the room to make sure she was okay. She seemed fine, so I gave her one last hug and kiss. I was ready to put her back in her crib when it happened.
Not just a little dribble of a spit-up. I mean full-on, projectile vomit all over me. Which, if you were wondering, is a great way to start your day. It’s delightful, really.
Then the whole situation get even better.
Because she didn’t just throw up on me. She threw up on herself.
She started wailing, crying big ole alligator tears while simultaneously pushing out her bottom lip, which started shaking in frustration and sadness and discomfort. You’d have felt sorry for her, like I did. I’m sure of it.
As I was working to clean her up, her crying woke up the rest of the house. Lovely.
I finally got her cleaned up, snuggled back in her sleeper, and nestled back in her crib.
At which point I realized that the vomit all over me was unnaturally cold.
I love my baby girl, but that was disgusting. Warm vomit is bad enough. But to have it on you so long that it actually gets cold? That’s another level gross. If you haven’t experienced it, just trust me. I won’t wish it on you.
Love may be found in the happy, pleasant moments. But I believe it’s realized in the vomit.
We are the vomit-y little newborn. Our lives are a mess. We have broken marriages, broken relationships, and a streak of pride we’re embarrassed to admit because we’re too prideful.
We’ve got a past we want to hide. A present we try to sensationalize. And a future we’re entirely uncertain of.
We’re addicted to attention. To positive reinforcement. To the “perfect” image of ourselves we think we have to live up to.
We are too lazy. Too disciplined. Too hidden. Too open.
We eat too much. Too little.
We enjoy life too much. Or not enough.
Even on our good days, our righteousness is sprinkled with, “What’s in this for me?” or “I wonder what others will think of me?” or “Will I get paid for this?” or “These people need me because I’m so awesome.”
Our generosity has an edge of hesitating, momentary greed at best. At worst it’s mixed with a self-serving, looking-down-your-nose pride.
We’re not perfect. Not at all.
And Love acknowledges that. It doesn’t look at the vomit and say, “Mmmm…yummy.” Love acknowledges our nastiness and loves anyway.
Love recognizes the nasty and dives in.
Love doesn’t act like you’re perfect. It acknowledges how gross you are, yet loves you still.
Love doesn’t act like it’s not hurt. Like it doesn’t smell the stink. It sees the vomit on you. On it. On the floor. And in the fibers of the carpet.
And whispers hope as it wipes our dirty face.
God is Love. (1 John 4:8)
We look at our lives and wonder why, if God truly does see all of our junk, He’d still love us. We’re sitting in our own filth. Helpless. Hopeless. And afraid. It’s as if God looks at us in that moment and says,
Go to work now? And miss out on an opportunity to show you love once again? To let you see your dirt, and show you that I still love you? Miss out on an opportunity to wipe your face clean, put new clothes on you, and tuck you back in? Not. A. Chance. I’m your dad, and I love you no matter what.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – The Apostle Paul, Romans 5:6-8
Love may be found in the happy, pleasant moments. But I believe it’s also found in the vomit.