He turns at the sound of my voice, eyes lighting up as recognition dawns.
Then he scampers toward me on all fours, a big beaming grin on his face.
One tiny hand after another planted on my legs as he totters successfully to his feet.
Throwing caution to the winds, (and abandoning the support of my walking stick) I stoop and scoop him to me.
We haven’t seen one another in the flesh for almost a month, so we slowly become reacquainted again.
I hold him close, marvelling at my grandson’s warm weightiness and the beautiful feel of him, just as I did when he was only a few days old.
Yes, it would have been safer for me to have sat and waited while a parent passed him to me but I was impatient to cuddle him straight away.
We play together for a while and I am child again in his company.
Forgetting my limitations, pressing past the pain, I revel in the freedom of being here with the little boy who lights up my life.
I could have been more cautious, exercised some common-sense.
I could have thought more about the effects on my body of bending low and lifting his small frame.
I could have decided I was too unfit, too sore, too stiff to engage in lifting, never mind play.
But I didn’t.
Admittedly, I can’t do crawling races and chases like daddy or grandpa can, nor can I run or walk swift to keep apace with him like others will do.
I am the grandma who mostly sits, slides gradual and careful to the floor, the one who bends M.E and arthritic-stiff legs slowly sideways before they protest too much.
I can still stack cups, build brick towers, shake rattles and soft toys, play peek-a-boo and feed him his meals.
I will be the one who reads stories, sings nursery rhymes, does puzzles and plays the slower games.
I may be the one who gives him wheelchair rides instead of pushchair ones. Who knows?
And much as I treasure each moment and opportunity to be with him, there is always a degree of payback afterwards.
For each extra exertion comes a fresh wave of pain and fatigue, maybe unnoticed at the time (such is my focus on the moment) but relentless soon afterwards.
It can take many days to recover from pushing myself too much. Often weeks.
Though it all pales into insignificance besides the opportunity to be with my family, share time, show love.
Because in the end, love is the best and strongest motivation of all.
It changes us as we give out to others. We willingly leave our comfort zones, embrace new things, extend ourselves beyond our previous capacities.
The heart of the matter is always a matter of the heart.
As God’s love gradually thaws, restores, envelops and invades our hearts, we become open to the possibility of transformation and change.
The real, open-eyed aware, deep sacrificial, complete, unconditional, totally giving love of God helps set us free from ourselves.
It helps us grow into faith and maturity, to be sacrificial, show compassion, give generously of ourselves, our time and resources.
Our human way of love, wonderful as it can be, is but a poor imitation and reflection of God’s love.
This is what we are aiming for as we grow more into Christ-likeness:
“Love never gives up.
Love cares for others more than self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep a score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.” (1 Corinthians 13:3-13 ~ The Message)
I’m a long way off loving like this but I have a deep appreciation for the love which God has already implanted in my heart, which keeps increasing as I grow in faith and understanding.
We are born to love God and to love others. To live unselfish lives.
And what stronger motivation do we need than seeing how much God loves us and desires to be in relationship with us?