Home from school! I fixed two bowls of ice cream (a once or twice a year treat in our home!). I decided to just enjoy some myself, remembering Arike’s benediction to me that morning as she spoke life over me on the phone. She said to be full of joy. So I fixed three bowls and sat down with my girls.
After a minute, Yaya saw my near empty bowl and gasped!
“You do not enjoy, mama!” and then she paused thoughtfully… “Or, is that how you enjoy? It is not at all how I enjoy. I enjoy it slooooooooowly.”
Now, at this point, I notice the distinct articulation in this young sage’s voice. How she seems almost proper and British. And I begin to realize the Kingdom of heaven has snuck in on me and my ice cream and is masquerading as an eight year old. The Lord is speaking to me, quite literally through mouths of babes.
I notice that both of my daughters bowls are still near empty. Mine has one lick left.
“Why does Mama not enjoy?” Yaya asks Evabeans. “She just chows it down.”
Evabeans agrees cordially, “Mmm hmmm.” Clearly much more interested in the melting of the snickerdoodle cashew on her tongue.
Ever thoughtful, Yaya carries on, “Maybe chowing is Mama’s way of enjoying? Woa!” She interrupts her own thoughts and watches her little sister lick the spoon. “Woa! Is that Evie’s way?”
Evabeans responds peacefully, still more intersetd in her ice cream than this conversation. “My way is love and kind.”
At this point I am dying inside and begin to transcribe every word of this moment. I open the door for more, “How should I be eating my ice cream? Teach me how to enjoy ice cream.”
The littlest says, “This is how…” and she takes a bite. I laugh outloud.
The oldest explains in case I didn’t catch the point, “Eat small bites, slowly. Not big bites fast. Little bites slooooowly.”
“Mmm hmmm,” agrees Littlest. “By taking little bites. Mmm hmm. You have to do that.”
The oldest bursts out, “Mama! There’s your life lesson!”
I crack up as I continue writing down every sweet word, sweeter than the snickerdoodle cashew.
Yaya exhorts, “Enjoy. Really ennnnjoy! Please. Do not chow down, or you’ll be like a really greedy puppy.”
“Yeah!” chimes in Evabeans, “And you’ll turn into a kitty.” Matter of fact.
“And by the way…” the oldest tells me while I brace myself for what is more, “Please write this down. And READ what you wrote!”
Deep exhale. Maybe that has been my way of enjoying… taking such big bites so quickly. But maybe there is a better way. I thought I learned to walk slow. But maybe that was just when I was to crippled to walk any other speed. That was when I was forced to lay down in the green pastures. But now, with health and healing rising up in the wings I fly under, I wonder. I need to learn to enjoy as a choice, to go slow by choice. Not because I have to, because I have learned to. So I am writing this down, and I am reading what I wrote. And I’m sharing it with you.
In my defense, which seems pretty measly at this point to even try… Nonetheless, in my defense, I did lick the bowl!
Let me pray with you today, my friend:
Father, we thank you for the mouths of babes! Thank you for snickerdoodle ice cream and proper speech and your endearing, playful ways. Tune our ears to hear your grace to us today. Thank you that you intercede for us Jesus. Speak to the big and command it to be small. Speak to the fast and command it to be slow. Show me a deeper revelation of joy today. May your JOY be my strength. I don’t want to be a greedy narcoleptic puppy, sprinting and passing out, sprinting and passing out. Show me how to walk and talk and enjoy every rose and snickerdoodle. I’m no victim. I am a victor. I’m no mess. I am redeemed. I don’t have to make myself suffer. Christ did that for me. I rejoice in you, Lord Jesus. I ask you to fill me with all peace and joy as I trust in You (Romans 15:13). Fill me to overflowing in Hope by the power of your Spirit, because you are the God of Hope.
What big bites are you eating fast?
How can you take littler bites of life slower?