I babysat tonight. I am still babysitting, in fact, but the little tots are sound asleep in their little beds, all worn out from our all-afternoon-and-evening dance party. It's understandable, really, I'm pretty wiped myself.
Anyway I don't usually agree to babysit on weekend nights - mostly because my highly extroverted self can barely handle the thought of missing something, which is a real possibility on a Saturday night. But this time it felt right. Firstly, I adoooore these two, so much, so it wasn't hard to twist my arm. I also think it just sounded really good to have a sure-fire way to do nothing on a weekend night. Being a grownup is tiring, and I was jonesing for a night in. With these two cuties?
We were reading stories before bed [we had a lot of time - we read a lot of books - I did a lot of voices] and he asked to read one about Jesus. (Since I know now you're wondering - no voices for Jesus. Bert and Ernie, absolutely. Jesus though, that might get weird.) We read about Easter and in very simple terms, we read about the crucifixion. On one particular page we read about how soldiers came for Jesus to take him away, and the sweet kid said this: "I don't want to be Jesus. I don't want soldiers to come for me!"
Can I get an amen?
Without thinking - and honestly mostly with nightmare prevention in mind - I explained to him that that's why Jesus let it happen: he loved us so much that he let the soldiers take him just so the soldiers wouldn't have to come for us. And he thought that was just great. I tucked him in, went downstairs, and it wasn't until I was scrubbing mac n' cheese from bowls with cartoons on them an hour later that the beauty of that entire exchange hit me square in the face.
I've tried to wrap this post up a hundred different ways - they all worked fine, sounded good and spiritual, rounded things out nicely. But I typed and deleted them, one by one. Because when it comes to truth, generally speaking, the wrapping is pretty inconsequential.
aaaand ten minutes later:
No, you know what? I want to wrap it. Truth needs no wrapper and I hope that you will take it for whatever you need it to be. But what it is for me is a reminder that I am loved. A reminder that I deserve soldiers. And every day, I think it's fair to say, I really earn them.
But they don't come. And grace, every day, covers my shame. Covers my fear. Covers me.
And that, my friends, is nightmare prevention at its very finest.