Serrated Words

Tonight, as I lay in bed struggling to fall asleep, I read a blog post written by a mama who just lost her 5 year old boy to brain cancer. And it grieved me. It made me have that deep down, unquenchable ache.

Only one thing would help it.

I quietly pulled back the covers, grabbed a tissue and headed for my little one’s room. I climbed into his bed with him and engulfed him in my arms, relishing the feeling of every breath as he took it, stroking his soft, brown hair & kissing him- his ears, his cheeks. Whispering “I love you” into his little ear…over and over again.

And as most moments like this in life tend to do, it got me thinking.

Why do I wait?

Why does it take a post like that to remind me just how quickly life can change?

Who don’t I relish and agonize, in the best way possible, over making every moment count?

We recently moved, and in the move, somehow our knives got packed in several different places. For the first week or so of unpacking, I could only find 2 decent knives. One was a straight edge, incredibly sharp knife. The other was a serrated, not as “heavy duty” knife.

For the first several mornings, I stubbornly chose the “sharp” knife to cut and section my breakfast grapefruit. After all, it’s the sharpest. And I would, with much frustration, butcher my grapefruit. Always getting the job done, but rarely with much of the grapefruit in tact at the end. The knife simply cut down everything in its’ path.

Then one morning, I noticed my second, serrated knife lying there. It wasn’t as sharp, and I immediately bemoaned the fact that my sharp knife was in the dishwasher (isn’t that just like us “humans” to miss the thing that didn’t work in the first place?) I picked up the serrated knife and began to work on sectioning my grapefruit.

It worked.

Perfectly.

Sure, it took a little more time, but when I was finished, nice, in tact sections of grapefruit stared back at me.

But the knife wasn’t even sharp?!

No. But it was made for that job. It was made to cut through breads, fruits, whatever else, making a pathway through, without destroying the entire thing.

So often my words are sharp. They get the job done…but they leave a butchered mess in their wake. It would seem that those words, that action, that response would be the most effective. The fastest. But it hurts. It leaves behind slices of pain, regret and moments that can never be undone.

As I lay there holding my boy tonight I thought about my words, my actions, my responses. If he was gone tomorrow and I looked back at his almost 4 years of life, would the moments be sharp or serrated? Would I have correctly him sharply, leaving little bits of his heart and dignity exposed? Or would I have chosen to take the more difficult path…the path that takes more work, more carving, more of my time and energy, patience, forgiveness & love. The path that leaves behind a child who is whole, brave and sensitive to guidance?

Lord, let my words, moments and actions be serrated. Let them be fit for the task at hand. Let me look at every opportunity as if it were my last, my most precious opportunity to mold and pour into that precious little life you’ve entrusted to me.

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