My kids are ridiculous.
I have to keep reminding Kyler over and over again that people are not her own personal jungle gym. She expresses love with exuberant hugs, jumping on top of people and with aggressive energy. She doesn’t know where she ends and you begin. Bumped heads and a knee in the gut or groin are common. But when she wraps her arms around me and squeezes with all her strength, my heart melts.
Gloria is sassy and spunky—perfecting the use of sarcasm and quick to laugh at me when I misspeak. At her basketball game during half-time music played over the speakers. Gloria danced while the coach gave directions. Of course. I enjoyed watching her. My heart glowed seeing her be so free. She was fully her in that moment.
I love seeing them laugh. I love watching them interact with the world, discovering problems and finding solutions. I love the spontaneity of the ridiculous.
Twice a year I help with lunch duty at my kid’s school. It’s amazing watching five groups of fifty kids over the three hour span—the social interactions, the way humor changes, the girls vs. boys mentality, the unfiltered energy their bodies are trying to so hard to contain but seeps out around the cracks. It’s controlled chaos.
At the beginning of each lunch time, one kid is asked to pray. It’s always a battle quieting the room, reminding the kids to listen and to contain that boundless energy. And of course at one point, right after a child started praying, something funny happened, and the kids giggled.
Talked about how we approach God as Father, and how we treat our own father. Respectfully. In awe. With reverence.
And it broke my heart a little bit. Because it reminded me so much of my own upbringing. I learned to relate to God as this somber creator, who loved me infinitely, but who was to be taken seriously. Church was about quiet and reflection. Fulfilling duties so God was pleased. There was no play. No silliness.
The games and silliness were separate from and apart from God. Something we were allowed to do before we had to buckle down and work at making God happy.
But what if God delights in the silliness and play?
What if he’s more than somber? What if, more than he wants our awe, he wants us to enjoy him? What if he wants us to feel his absolute and unending delight over us?
Today I read Isaiah 52:10.
“The Lord has bared his holy arm…”
You showed the world your guns, I whispered. Maybe that was irreverent. Sorry, not sorry. And then I giggled. It was ridiculous and good. And I thought, maybe God delights in this. Maybe he wants me to lack inhibition, to be fully me. Maybe he delights when I dance in the crowd. Maybe he wants me to be exuberant in my actions even if it’s off-putting because he delights in me loving this world with all of my being.
Maybe he wants me to giggle when something absolutely ridiculous and awkward happens during prayer simply because it’s funny and I’m not a robot. I don’t have to be stoic or somber. Abundant life, full life are the promise—and those are not separate from our emotions.
We remember the grave and the cross—but on this side, it is never separate from the joy of Easter. And there are occasions and times when quiet and reflection are good and needed. And sometimes at dinner instead of praying, we ask our kids to sit quietly for a few moments—taking deep breaths. And giggling and play are set aside for a minute…but there is no rebuke for silliness, no reminders to approach God with reverence.
He finds us in our mess.
He finds us in our silliness.
He is with us in our play.
And he laughs with us.