There is a bruise under my left eye.
It hurts when I smile or touch it, and it is raised up just enough that it interferes with my view.
And I love it.
Because this bruise, the one that’s always visible to me, even when I am not before a mirror, it reminds me of a certain full-of-life little ten-year-old boy who loves me. A child I love who is comfortable enough with me and happy enough to be around me that he regularly spreads open his arms to offer me something that’s a cross between a bear hug and a tackle.
And I’ll take it- a bear hug, a tackle, and even the occasional bruise. Because of love. I love him. And he loves me. And love is bigger and bolder and brighter than any bruise. It’s worth any risk. Every. Single. Time.
Not that long ago, I found myself realizing I couldn’t remember the last time someone hugged me or touched my shoulder or rubbed my back. And as a person whose primary love language is touch, that was excruciating.
And so I started hugging. I started giving what I needed.
There are parts of my heart being mended and made whole. I can feel it happening.
I can counter everything I don’t have with this truth: I have so much more than I did this time last year.
I have people to hug me. People to call when I’m sad or happy or have a question about insurance or baking. I have people to laugh with and be myself with. People who have seen me at my worst and still say “I love you.” People to look up to and admire- people to reflect Jesus to me. And people to whom I can hopefully be a reflection of Jesus. I have people to come over when my cat dies and they know I’m sad. I have people who think of me as a daughter, a sister, an aunt.
And even though the list of what I don’t have is there, pressing in on my thoughts even now, following the points on my above list with sentences that begin: “Yeah, but…” I still have the trump card: GOD IS.
My “yeah, but’s” can take a seat because GOD IS and HE IS NEAR and MY HEART MATTERS TO HIM and I AM HELD.
And I wonder if it’s harder for those of us “physical touch” love language-rs to feel close to God than it might be for those who can feel loved through other less tangible ways. I wonder if I’d feel less grief about being unable to hug Him if I was wired differently- if it was most important to my heart to soak up His words, or spend time with Him, or serve Him, or be aware of the ways He’s acting in my life.
I don’t know why God made me the way He did. But this God, this God of infinite power and wisdom, this God who calls Himself Love, He doesn’t make mistakes.
And in all of this–in the people on my speed dial and the birthdays I make a point of remembering and the bruise under my eye–I hear God whisper: “I’ve got you.”