We had the privilege to hang out with our sweet nephew yesterday while his parents had a date night. Mark and I have been looking forward to this since they asked if we were available. I excitedly prepped the house (moved anything sharp within tiny arms’ reach) and doodled Daniel Tiger on the chalkboard because “Dan Dan” is his favorite guy and I wanted him to feel comfortable.
It was every bit as fun as we’d hoped! We colored on the chalkboard, danced, went to the park, played with sticks and leaves, visited the mailbox, made homemade bread, blessed ourselves with holy oil, and practiced going up and down (and up and down) the stairs.
He was so excited every time he made it to the top step that he would run to Mark to give him big hugs. Mark was overjoyed to receive those sweet little embraces.
Of course all of his hugs are amazing, but I thought about how special those hugs were because Mark didn’t ask for them and no one prompted him to give them. They were freely given because it’s what he wanted to do.
It occurred to me this might be a shadow of how the Lord feels when we come to Him outside of our “obligated” times — when we seek Him beyond daily prayers and Sunday Mass. Choices to love, made freely, are so much sweeter than those made out of obligation.