Allie is two and a half years old, and he's my buddy. His Mom and Dad are good friends of mine, and I'm lucky enough to get to see him quite a bit.
There's this funny thing about Allie, which is that he loves me. He loves me in this strange and mysterious way that I don't think I'll ever fully understand. He gets really excited when I come to visit and makes special paintings for me in preparation. When I arrive we play together A LOT. There is much giggling and galloping and wearing of capes. On a recent visit, he looked into my eyes and said plainly, "Emmy, I like you." Which made my heart sort of expand and explode at the same time.
I'm going to school right now and in class we're talking a lot about Luther's notion of grace. This idea that God's love is freely given, simply bestowed upon you. My whole life, I've been hearing people talk about God, who loves me no matter how broken I may be. I've heard it over and over again, but I don't think I really understood it until Allie decided that he loved me. There's nothing in the world I've done to deserve his love. He just loves me. And there's nothing I need to do to earn it. He doesn't need me to try harder to be perfect. He doesn't need me to try and make up for all the ways I've gone wrong. He just loves me.
Somehow it's always so much simpler than you want to make it. The idea that love could be free...that there is enough of it to flood all the places in your heart you've been so carefully guarding...it's a dizzying notion. An impossible notion. You've tried to believe it your whole life. And then in a moment you understand it with your whole body: this is love, this is all.