“Will you tell us a story when you were a little girl?”
I knew the question was coming. At least I should know it is always coming as I (or Grant ) tuck our girls in bed after a typical busy day.
It never fails, I am always tired by the time I turn out their light, although I always want to keep my own burning for a couple more hours.
“A story that’s long and different?” AudreyKate made sure not to forget her classic qualifying sentence.
Because we all know good stories are the ones that keep us hanging for a while and we can’t quite guess what will happen at the end.
I often say no to their requests. Usually because my tired mind just can’t think of a story long and different and we’ve read and told stories and played all day.
And many nights, they just need to go to sleep and not delay bedtime one minute longer.
But tonight, I settled down on the edge of Evangeline’s trundle bed, making room by moving all the bunnies that were crowding us all up, trying to think of a story.
“When I was a little girl, I used to have a bunny. Not an alive bunny, but still she was my special bunny. In fact, I picked her out from the store all by myself.”
“What did she look like, Mama? Did she look like our bunnies?”
I picked up one of their adorable Jellycat bunnies.
“No, not quite like this bunny. See, my bunny wasn’t as lovely as your bunnies. Well at least not to other people. But she was to me.
She had a blue velvet nose, though most of the velvet was worn off. And I loved her so much she became covered in patches where my Mommy had mended all her torn places.”
I then preceded to make my story “long” by telling them about the time I left Bunny at a hotel while on vacation (her name was Bunny). I told them how I cried in the backseat of our red Dodge caravan when I realized Bunny had been forgotten. And even though we were much too far away already, my dad turned around and drove all the way back to get her.
“Mama,” AudreyKate said as I stood up to tuck them in after my long and different story had come to an end, “I want a bunny to love with patches all over it. How can I have a bunny like that?”
“But AudreyKate you do have a bunny like that. Look at all your bunnies.”
“But not a special bunny like your Bunny.”
“AudreyKate, what makes a bunny special is that you choose to love it. That was why Bunny was special even though she became worn, and faded, and covered in patches.”
I watched as she picked out a pale pink bunny and held her close.
“Good night, AudreyKate. Good night, Evangeline.”
As I closed the door, I wondered at how that answer had just come like that.
I guess that’s the thing about motherhood. You just find the words somehow.
A bunny is special because you choose to love it.
This morning, I found myself in the book of 1 Corinthians. I imagined that bustling and socially advanced Greco-Roman culture and what it might have looked like in Paul’s day. A lot of people with a lot of gifting. Many vying voices.
But God says to His people (through the Apostle Paul),
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world…”
And then a little later in the chapter, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus.”
Because of Him.
Not because of me.
In a world bursting with the eloquence and efficiency of others, isn’t it freeing to remember that’s not why our lives matter?
It’s not why he chose to love us.
My life isn’t special because I was the cutest bunny on the shelf, but just because of Him. That is where it begins and ends.
And in the end, the best stories don’t have to be long and different, they just have to be true.
The story of Christ’s redemptive love for His people is just that.
Which should make every person smile – faded, worn or patched.