Love me, love my dog.
This phrase was popular a few years back. It was used to convey to others that not only were you a dog lover, but if someone claimed to love you, it was expected they would also love things (or people) that were important to you. If someone wanted your company, they better be willing to also embrace the company of your K-9 best friend as proof that what matters to you, matters to them. It’s like saying if you truly love me, you will love all the things and people that I love.
In December 2005, one of my precious sons, Brandon, became very ill. Suddenly the world changed. My beautiful boy was now in a coma. I stared out the window from the ICU into a gray, cold December day. The sound of the doctor saying the word COMA just played over and over in my head.
Brandon was connected to life support. The Earth continued to rotate. I thought it was only right that it should stop for me and feel my pain, but it didn’t. After many very long days and nights, my son opened his eyes. He smiled at the sound of family voices, but the brain injury he sustained due to lack of oxygen, stole his ability to speak. He could not move. He was trapped in a body that no longer would respond, no matter how hard he tried to make it obey.
Brandon’s ability to be Brandon was still very evident. His expressions assured me he “was still in there.” His face tells you when he is in pain, he smiles when his brother reminds him of silly things they did as kids, and he cried when I told him the old German Shepard he grew up with had passed away.
Many things have changed for our family since that day in December. There has been an abundance of pain, grief, suffering, disappointment and fear. There has also been joy beyond measure, a new community of friends, a greater dependency on God and the revelation that facing fears is so much better than trying to outrun them.
Last week a substitute caregiver came to our home to help out with the daily routine to care for Brandon. She was quiet and kind of different. She actually said a few strange things that made me think she may not be someone I wanted to ask to come back again, should we need another substitute caregiver. Not that she did anything wrong, just kind of weird and I quickly judged her as not a good fit.
The day went on and it was time for her to leave. I thanked her and signed her timesheet. As she gathered her things and headed towards the door, she quite naturally leaned down to hug my son’s neck and said, “Goodbye Brandon, may God bless you.” It was as natural as breathing for her. It was not to impress me. It was not that Christianese you sometimes hear people speak. It was sincere and part of her. It was from her heart. I immediately changed the way I felt about this woman. My heart melted as she walked out the door. She was kind to my son. She cared about Brandon after just a few hours of knowing him. She valued him even though he gave very little back to her. A smile was all she got, a thankful smile. Still, she hugged and blessed him and suddenly I forgot the judgment I had made in haste and saw her as the kind person she is, all because she loved my son.
In that wonderful moment it was so clear that God does the same thing. When we love His Son, He forgets all the whacky stuff we do, the judgment is removed and He just loves us even more because of the way we treat Jesus.
Love Me, Love My Son. It’s clear and simple and human and divine.
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