Just often enough to exasperate Caroline, I ask her, “Did you know you’re special to me?” As the words are leaving my mouth, I feel just like Mr. Rogers.
She’ll say, “Yes,” and I’ll gasp and say, “Who told you?!”
This bit of mommy-and-me theater played better when she was little. Nowadays, she pretty much knows that she’s special to me.
“You, Mom. You literally just told me.” (She recently caught the fever for “literally.”)
It’s no secret that Caroline is special to me. She’s our one and only, the child we prayed for, the daughter I never could have imagined. Personally, I think she’s pretty special, but I want her to know she’s special to me. In this superficial world of social media stars and kid celebrities with giant hair bows, I want to teach her it’s far better to be special to someone.
Every week, depending on the whims of the fickle public, people go from somebody special to nobody special and back again. Better to have one close friend than a zillion “likes.”
To some folks Jesus was nobody special when they crucified him. He was the man in the middle, hanging between two other criminals paying the ultimate price for offending the Romans. But he was special to his mother Mary. He was special to his best bud John. He was very special to a handful of people. Still, the special place he held in others’ hearts couldn’t shield him from being injured and insulted like a common nobody.
Of the two nobodies to his left and right, one of them joined in with the crowd’s taunts. But then the other nobody came to Jesus’ defense, asking, have you no shame?
“Jesus,” he then turned and said, “remember me when your kingdom comes.” And Jesus said he would. Because Jesus loves people. Jesus loves shoplifters and hookers and gangsters. Jesus loves thugs and nobodies, including the two crucified on either side of him. Jesus loves.
Something meaningful happened when the crook turned and asked Jesus to remember him. He became special to Jesus. His hands were tied, but he hoped it wasn’t too late to make a plea, to remake his life. Dying and scared, of mixed-up motives and mustard-seed faith, he turned to Jesus and asked to be remembered.
Jesus couldn’t forget him.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
fail to pity the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
but I won’t forget you.
Look, on my palms I’ve inscribed you . . .” -Isaiah 49:15-16
“Say make me, remake me. You are free to do it and I am free to let you because look, look. Look where your hands are. Now.” -from Toni Morrison’s Jazz
This is the second post in a multi-post series for Lent. Find the first one here. Thanks for reading. -Em : )