Mimicry Counts

As little man was snuggling up to me last night, he mumbled, “luf my mama…”

“I love you to,” I replied. “I love you so much”.

So much.

They’re words I’ve tacked onto that statement for years…. as if they can even begin to convey how much deeper that love is than I’d ever expected it could be. He echoed them back to me, as he does with most things he’s told… “me luf my mama so much…” and my heart melted. That returned sentiment of depth… of wanting to take that leap with me…

And yes, I know it was mimicry…. just as “god lufs me” is still mimicry because such a tiny heart can hold so much more love than this old stiff one of mine… without even needing to understand the words that could express that bounty… and somehow mimicry is enough. More than enough, it feels like a victory.

I’ve tried to make a practice in recent years of recited prayer… it’s something we don’t do a lot of in our church… liturgical-style recitation…. and I can appreciate the desire to move away from rote ritual for ritual’s sake and toward intentional, relational, authentic prayer lives…. but part of me needs recitation. As a person who’s struggled with depression in the past… who’s been in the pit where knowledge of God is not sufficient to feel God’s love… where fear of pulling one iota further from God chains the soul when the realization hits that the words just… will. Not. come. When words of love, words of praise… cannot be composed within this soul… then the simple knee-jerk reaction of reciting grace before a meal…. the same words we say every night… can be just that… a gift of grace.

At least I left a voicemail… dropped the pre-printed thank you note in the mail… checked the box that says “yup… still here… still thinking of you…” Though it feels so dreadfully inadequate for one who is usually so overflowing with words… it’s a moment to grasp… an anchor in the storm. I can only pray that the small, squeaky mimicry of a voice still learning the shapes of words of praise will one day bubble up as conviction through the shear power of repetition. He is loved so much…. by mama… by papa… by God.

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