Giggles and glee fill the upstairs after church on Sunday afternoon. As I read about the consummation of all things and Mr. Chandler teaches me how the Greek word for “new” found in the passages employing the phrase, “new heavens and new earth” actually means renewed, not brand new, God practically illustrates for me.
Wailing ensues as I try to mentally justify my hesitation to rise from my favorite neglected couch cushion once again.
Up the stairs I trudge, aggravated at the all too familiar interruption.
“What’s wrong, girls? What’s going on up here?”
As I search for the key to unlock the door Addie is groveling behind, Mia, my most trusted informant proceeds to tell me how much fun they were having until she accidentally stepped on Addie’s arm.
“How did that happen, Mia?”
“Well, she was under me. Addie was worshipping Maylee and kissing her feet. Maylee was trying to get away and I was trying to help Maylee escape!”
“Why was Addie worshipping Maylee??”
“Because Maylee was pretending to be a princess.”
“So Addie was trying to play with you and you were both trying to get away from her before you trampled her arm?”
“Well, yeah, I guess.”
I find the key and open up to my whimpering child curled up in a ball in the corner alone. From the looks of things, she appears to want to stay that way.
But I know better. I know my Addie. Most like her mommy, little Addie is like a clam. You’ve got to dig her open very carefully before the pearls of profession begin to appear.
“What happened, Addie.”
“I want the door closed! No one’s allowed in here!”
Knowing her well enough to know I had better wait a few minutes before cleaning the wound lest I create a housefull of collateral ear damage, and knowing that her arm was in much less pain than her heart, I close the door.
“Leave Addie alone, girls.”
I return to my book and I hear Mia and Maylee planning a tea party. Mia calls over to Fort Knox and says kindly, “We’re having a tea party, Addie. You can come if you want.”
Grace. Grace covers offense, even when injuries are accidental.
“I don’t want to have a tea party! I want to play penquin!”
“We can play that if you want. We don’t have to play tea party. We can do whatever you want.”
Sacrifice. Grace-filled hearts sacrifice for the good of others.
Addie emerges and comes downstairs, still sobbing.
“Come sit here by me, Addie,” I encourage.
As Mia places Addie’s security blankey over us both, Addie rests.
“Aren’t you gonna play penquin with us?” Mia asks.
“Addie will be up soon. She’s tired right now. Go play with Maylee.” I answer for her.
I wipe Addie’s tears and begin to record the events as such. Addie rests on my shoulder and watches my steady hand scrawl the story of us all.
Ten minutes later, she lifts her blanket and looks up at me for approval. “Where are you going?” I ask with a genuinely sad face.
“The tea party!”
Renewed; not new. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, now I get it, Mr. Chandler. Reconciliation is the prerequisite to consummation.
“What we see in the scripture’s vision of the end of redemptive history is not an earth thrown in the trash can with its righteous inhabitants escaping to disembodied bliss in the clouds but a restored earth where creation has been reconciled to God.” ~Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel