“I see the resemblance!” the well-intentioned but unknowing older woman said to me. I was sitting outside a Starbucks on a cloudy morning in a formerly crisp, now saliva-soaked, oxford shirt. I was holding my friend’s wife’s 5 week old baby. And although I couldn’t remember the last time I’d held a baby so young I was sure of one thing – no matter the seeming resemblance, she wasn’t mine.
It was a wonderful way to pass the morning, examining her little features. I stared at her long fingers and miniscule nails as she gripped the collar of my shirt. I admired her tiny nostrils and thin, almost translucent, eyelids as she fidgeted in my arms, struggling to find the perfect position for her mid-morning nap. I marveled at what I called her long ‘wind-up’ – the scrunched-up-pre-tears-red-cheeked-open-mouthed-frown that indicated a coming outburst – and laughed when she settled in seconds later, perfectly contented in the crook of my arm, her forehead pressed against the buttons of my shirt. With my skinny-latte just out of reach on the table in front of me, I noticed her shallow breaths and imagined her little lungs filling up with the cool air. My coffee got cold. I didn’t care.
Driving home that evening I found myself amongst an anonymous horde, all of us stuck together in terrible traffic with no obvious cause. As the 40-minute trip edged toward 90 I was suddenly choked up, totally taken with the memories of the day: holding the child, watching her as she slept. Soft tears quietly trickled down my cheeks as I inched along the highway, surrounded by strangers who may or may not have been staring through tinted windows at the crying man. I didn’t care.
In those tearful moments, at the end of a long day, I was sure of something: like a new parent at the window of a hospital nursery, God marvels at us. And lingers, noticing every little detail about us; who we are and how we are. God names us – precious and perfect – and then smiles and laughs, buoyed with joy as we are held and beheld.
To stand at the nursery window is to witness to beauty, hope, and promise – to bask in limitless potential without stifling expectation. Indeed, we don’t want or expect anything from a newborn sleeping in her crib or in our arms; we just love her. We just love her and we don’t care who might be watching or how we might be inconvenienced.
I think God wants to be around us like this, too – so smitten with us is God. I have a sense now that God, too, cries.
“I see the resemblance!”, the well-intentioned but unknowing older woman had said. Me too. Only, at the end of the day, that resemblance wasn’t between me and the child, but me and God. It was a resemblance of sight; love. I’d had the opportunity to see how God sees. Love as God loves. Smitten.
Cover image of sleeping baby Flickr user pacensepatoso can be found here.