She couldn’t smile. She couldn’t talk and she really didn’t know my voice from anyone else’s. Aside from crying periodically and demanding food, we didn’t hear from her. Her life was about taking, not giving. But the moment I saw her, I was love-struck. She was my granddaughter.
My husband recently pointed out to me that love is very peculiar. How is it, he wondered out loud, that a small human being can give nothing but be loved so outrageously? After all, he said, our granddaughter couldn’t even return a smile when she was first born yet we were both smitten. Intuitively, I understand why we love her. We love her as we do our own children but now they seem easier to love because as adults, they give good things back to us. They tell us that they love us. My daughters call me just to see how I am and my son helped take care of me after a bad accident. Loving people who give us things seems reasonable, but how is it that we can love another person so crazily when they have nothing to give in return? I think I have a clue.
I can love my grandbaby this way because this is exactly how God loves me. Sometimes I reason that God might love me because, well, I try to make him happy. I throw him a smile. I pray and ask what He would like me to do that day. I sing a song or two in church and in my car. But when it comes down to it, no matter what I offer Him seems profoundly trivial. I can offer to write a book, but what is this to him? After all, He created the world by pressing a bit of dirt between his hands, opened his spiritual “mouth” and formed life so what can I, a tiny spec of a person give back to him compared to that? Not much. I know that it seems to us humans that we accomplish a lot. We (collectively speaking) have created ways to communicate with one another in real time through space. We have built entire cities, made men shoot through space and land on the moon and we have given ill children new hearts.
These are wonderful, but really, when we compare these accomplishments to what God can do- create light, come on. We are small potatoes. So doesn’t it seem odd that this creative, glorious God, who could love anything or anyone he chooses, would love us? Why should he love me? Better yet, if he decided to love me but I messed up, why wouldn’t he simply remake a better, nicer version of me to love? For some reason, he doesn’t. He just loves me and He loves you because we are.
Just like Ainsley is. And for me to love her, that’s all she needs to do- exist. And for God to love you and me, the truth of the matter is, that is all we need to be- alive. As Ainsley Grace grows up, I will make sure that she knows this God that I know. Because when I stare at her photo in googly-eyed adoration, He stands right behind me.