Over winter solstice, I watched my father tending to KG, his first grandchild, with unconditional love. We had just celebrated her one year birthday and she was beginning to cruise around with increased confidence. As she found herself standing in front of my mother’s highly breakable ceramic nativity scene, KG began to methodically hand each figure to my father. He gratefully received them from her and moved them to another shelf.
My sister, the mother of the much adored child said, “No, KG. No touch.” My dad just stayed there, receiving each figurine from the determined Katie Grace. “I’ll catch them,” he said. “I don’t really tell her no.”
Now I confess, my sister and I both nearly fell off the sofa in that moment. Who was this man gently hovering over his grandchild with a blissful air of yes, the same man who was forever telling us no as children?
“ No! Kristy quit! No, no! Deanna don’t!”
I mean sometimes we thought those were our names: Deanna Don’t and Kristy Quit.
Did someone body snatch our father?
Upon further reflection, I think it is maybe a little less complicated than alien body snatching. I think my father has had an epiphany about unconditional love.
The way that child lights up every time her Pop Pop walks into the room. How she reaches for him no matter who is holding her.
It is powerful to be loved that way. It breaks open our hearts. It tells us we are enough and calls us to love others with broken open hearts. Radically inclusive, unjudging hearts.
Beloveds, may you all know that you are loved the way KG loves her Pop Pop. Unquestioned, unjudged. Loved. Beloved. Yearned toward. Reached for. Held.
May this knowledge continually break open our hearts so that we can experience the divine love of the universe and shine the light of this love onto each other.
May this season of Epiphany bring you not only the sweetness of King Cake – may it also bring you the sweetness of receiving the unconditional love of the universe.