And for those who weren't, their parents painstakingly fed them.
I felt ashamed of myself, really. We would be chatting together while I would almost avoid watching the dear child eat. Food trickles down the lips and chin, napkins are laid all over the top part of the body, and slowly--oh so slowly--some of the food actually makes it down the throat in a slow and deliberate swallow.
Why did I feel myself inwardly cringing? Wanting to pretend nothing is out of place? Maybe you have felt this too? Recently a friend told me that the first time she was in a special needs classroom she was so disconcerted, she passed out cold.
I think I respond this way because it is such a startling picture of humanity's dependency. Humanity's brokenness. It is easy to acknowledge that we are a broken and in need of God's redemption and healing. But, really, do I want to see it drawn out starkly in front of me? No, I'm put together, dignified, able-bodied. I can handle myself, right?
Today's mantra is that we are self-sufficient and empowered folk. No one can stop you from your dreams! You can do anything. You just need the right tools to become who you want to be. You hold the power.
I open my Bible and find that although we have incredible worth in God's eyes, we are not powerful. We are broken, fragile, dependent. I don't want to think of myself that way. It makes me queasy to see others that way. It mirrors my complete brokenness on a physical level. Something is wrong and I can't deny it.
Neither can God. He can see through even our physical wholeness, for those that are blessed with it. He sees our decaying hearts and broken souls. Does He shy away from our sinfulness, our helplessness? The Father does not turn away. He has compassion and sends us (sorry and pitiful people) the one most precious to Him, His son, Jesus!
I thought on this as I watched many parents lovingly and so tenderly feeding their child. Such compassion and unreserved love. They saw their child's beauty, his worth, his likeness like no one else. It touched me to see this beautiful and bittersweet scene.