Speak Eagle

Not Just a Blanket

photo-13It’s just a blanket, given to him by a friend.   But my 7-year old wants it with him as we drive to the hospital in the early morning hours while it’s still dark outside. It’s soft, made of fleece and soccer balls- the sport my son was playing when he broke his leg last week.

It’s a long morning. The surgeon sutures his broken leg back together, and hours later we are back in the van, headed home. The little leg is now in a thigh-to-ankle brace he will wear for 6 weeks.  He won’t be able to play his favorite sport for quite a while.  Medicated for comfort, he sleeps peacefully with the blanket by his side.

josh car ride home w blanket

The blanket was the first of many gifts from his friend- followed by a box of cookies, three Christmas movies, hot chocolate packets and microwave popcorn, a bag of apples, a pizza and breadsticks. Gifts from a boy who wants to make it right.

And while I fight the urge to nurse old grudges from old hurts in my life, my little guy thanks his friend for the gifts and welcomes him to come sit on the couch and play Madden football.

Believe me- it hasn’t always been this way.  I’ve broken up many a battle because of the retaliatory habits of my most competitive son in the past- caught wailing mercilessly on brothers or neighbors who accidentally bumped him or tripped him.

As we kiss him goodnight, we tell him how proud we are of him for how he is treating his friend, for giving him grace.

And he breaks down, grabbing my neck tight and sobbing into my shirt. I let him cry for a while, wondering if he’s finally mad, like I would be.  And then he chokes out, “He’s my friend.”

Not, “He WAS my friend,” past-tense, but “He IS my friend,” present-tense.

josh sleeping under blanket

It looks like just a blanket.  But, it’s not just a blanket. It’s a blanket hand-tied for him by the boy who accidentally kicked him and broke his leg.

Funny how our adult relationships fall apart for lesser grievances. Yet one who repents and one who forgives is the bedrock of reconciliation.

He sleeps under his blanket in the glow of the twinkling Christmas lights around his bunk bed, and I remember my God, my reconciling, relationship-pursuing God, who sent Jesus as a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, to live and die and rise again to forgive me, a sinner in need of grace.

Merry Christmas!

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