Sunday, October 02, 2005

"Love" by a 4 year old

Joneil is my new little friend. She is the 2nd youngest of 7 kids. Every Saturday when I arrive, I look for Joneil and her sisters. They've started to look for me, too. That's a big deal, you know? To have project kids actually care that you're around. They find me, and usually run up to me. Joneil and two of her sisters may give me a hug. One of the girls likes to throw Cheetos at me (sometimes sand...when it's Cheetos, I tend to not mind it as much). Another one is not really sure if she wants to hang out with me yet. She'll come around.

I started this little word game with Joneil that I like to play with Brandon. I simply say, "Who loves you?" She doesn't talk much anyway (you try getting in a word edgewise with 5 older brothers and sisters), so for the first few times, she would just look at me and shrug her shoulders and smile. But one day our conversation went like this:
"Joneil, who loves you?"
"That's right I DO love you! Who loves me?"
"You love me, Joneil? Wow, that's so great! Why do you love me?"
(She thought about this for a little while)
"'Cause...I want to."

I was amazed. I mean, she could have said, "cause you bring me candy" or "cause you carry me around all day every Saturday and let me put my sticky, dirty hands in your hair and stain your clothes with popsicles". But she didn't. She just said, "Cause I want to". I like that answer. I think that is why God loves me, too. Not because of the clothes I wear, or what I do for Him. Not because I say my prayers or read my Bible or give candy to kids and let them put popsicle goop all over my clothes. He loves me because He wants to. Even when my words, actions, or attitudes reflect the fact that I don't always love Him, He still loves me. He chooses to love me without regard as to the color of my skin, my grade point average, or how well I can keep our apartment clean. Joneil doesn't care about any of that either. She's my friend. And it's good to have a friend that loves...just because.

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