The candle flickered as we stood in a circle at the close of our lesson last Sunday morning. Just a regular, small group of tweens- ordinary kids, each involved in many other activities, each holding dreams, each eager to please, each with upturned hands, ready to draw a symbol on each other's palm ...a symbol that would hopefully remind us of our time together, and what we had talked about that morning as God had moved among us.
I took the permanent marker and drew a tear drop on a young girl's hand. Then I wrote God inside. We had talked that morning about suffering...not knowing why we suffer, not finding answers, but acknowledging simply that when we cry, God cries too.
I traced the teardrop, and said quietly, God is with you when you suffer. She took up the pen, turned to her friend, drew the tear drop and repeated the words, until the little action had gone around the circle, and made its way back to me. I smiled as I looked at the little visual on my palm. Such a cute reminder of our time together. I blew the candle out.
And that was that.
But unbeknown to me, that little symbol was about to become much, much more...
The young girl was a greeter at church that morning. She left our class, and headed upstairs, her pony tail swinging behind her. She was ready to smile, and welcome, and shake hands, as she often does, with all who would step through the doors of our church. But this morning was different.
Little did those people know, as they took that young girl's hand in theirs, and their palms met, that she was silently transferring that symbol, passing on the reassurance, even though they did not know it, that God is with them when they suffer.
For we all are one.
Hands meeting hands, eyes meeting eyes, God meeting us...through a young girl. And that little experience confirmed to me what I have really known all along as I serve in children's ministry...
it's not about me blessing the children, but about them blessing me.