Dinner is over and the day is winding down. It's been a good day. Church, followed by lunch out at an Indian restaurant with Dennis and Noah while the girls were at a play date. After being away for a day on a speaking engagement, I was happy to be home this afternoon doing laundry, straightening up toys and piles of papers, catching up on email, puttering around my office. Whenever I go away, even if it's for only 24 hours, I realize how much I love being home. And that's always a good thing.
Being here tonight -- as Chiara pushes a toy baby stroller around the house while wearing a tutu and plastic heels, as Olivia argues with her over what they're going to play, as Noah practices piano -- I feel a sense of calm despite an utter lack of anything resembling calm. It's calming not because it's quiet or peaceful or relaxing but because it's familiar and loving and unconditional.
Our less-than-perfect home life still manages to rise to the level of wonderful because it is wrapped in the love that we have for one another. It's a lot like my less-than-perfect spiritual life, which manages to be resilient and amazing even when I am not doing my part because I am wrapped in the arms of a loving God who waits for me when I'm too busy or too distracted to pay Him any mind.
Tonight, as I look at my kids doing things that are clearly meant to drive me insane, I have to smile because in them I can see how I must look to God. As I flit from one place to another noisily whining about what I need or want, asking for things every time He turns around, and only occasionally remembering to say, "Thank you," I imagine God patiently listening and resisting the urge to yell, "Shut up."
We are loved so completely. Sometimes it's hard to remember that. We think we're not worthy. We think we have to jump through all sorts of hoops to be loved by God. But He loves us without conditions, without strings, without asking anything of us in return. I'm sure He'd like us to listen, to follow the rules, to pay attention to what He's saying, but, like any good parent, God doesn't withhold love because we don't always live up to His expectations. We are loved simply because we are.