The other day my little girl reached up to me with her soft gentle arms and asked, “Can I hold you Mommy?”
She did not ask, “Can you hold me?” She asked, “Can I hold you?”
As I picked her up and snuggled her close, I knew she was asking the one question that will always bring us peace and joy.
My husband is also a wise soul. Whenever we go on a family hike and he notices the youngest child looks tired he says, “You know I’m getting so tired. Think you could hold me for a while?”
Then he picks up the exhausted child and carries them until they’re rested. They never figure out that Daddy is really holding them. They believe they are helping their father by holding him. That is the essence of real love.
Too often we waste too much time waiting for the other person to appreciate us, notice us or honor us. We forget that someone has to do the appreciating, noticing and honoring first or we’ll all be waiting forever and gravely disappointed. We can’t force others to love us. We can only choose to love them. When we feel lonely, we need to go out there and help someone else feel less lonely. When we feel unappreciated, we need to go out there and help someone else feel appreciated. When no one honors us for our hard work, we need to go out there and honor someone else for their hard work.
My tiny daughter was wise beyond her years when she asked to hold me. For while she was holding me I was holding her and it didn’t matter any more who started the whole thing. That’s what happens when we want to do the kind, thoughtful or loving action first. We ultimately receive what we give.
The other day I heard two of my young children arguing.
One child said, “I’m me and you’re you.”
To which the other child replied, “No! I’m me and you’re you.”
They kept up this argument for a long time. This is the universal battle that never ends between individuals or nations. We are so sure that we’re right and the other guy is wrong that we forget to see that we’re both right and we’re both wrong.
We all see the world less the way it is and more the way we are. We have tunnel vision and forget nobody will be important to each other until someone sees the world through the other person’s eyes.
Money might make the world go round, but holding and hugging, caring and compassion is what makes us want to stay on for the whole ride.
Now when my husband and children come home at the end of the day, I try to remember my young daughter’s wise question and ask, “Can I hold you?”
Then when skin touches skin you can’t remember who started this moment of joy because you are both being hugged. You’re just mighty sure you don’t want to be the one who ends it . . . and all is right with the world.