Do you ever play the three words game? The idea is to sum up someone you know, or yourself, in three words. The three words, when the game works well, should present a sort of micro-portrait of the subject; their personality and their character and whatever points to their uniqueness. I remembered the three word game this morning as I lay on a cold wet beach, flattened and breathless.
I had been strolling along with two friends, enjoying the cold morning (it’s supposed to be flaming June. It isn’t, yet) and my three dogs were playing with their three when one of them began to eat something unspeakable (so I won’t speak about it). The three humans who were with the six dogs all yelled as one “No! Nina! No!” and leapt towards the offending hound. Somehow, on the way, one of my legs hit an unexpectedly lumpy lump of air (cunningly invisible), and I was sent flailing and wailing towards the earth. It happens, roughly, once a year. Every year it gets a little bit harder to get back on my feet and every year it knocks the wind out of me and I end up rolling around, like a beetle on its back, gasping for breath and helpless with laughter. An uncomfortable combination. This morning, as my friends yelped with concern and hurried to see if I was broken, I rolled onto my back and looked up at the grey sky and I laughed and laughed and laughed. That’s when I remembered the three words game and I knew that one of them, for me, without fail, is ‘absurd’.
I am absurd.
I like being absurd, though. It’s always entertaining, often takes me surprise, and it enables me to stand outside myself and say “For crying out loud, woman. Look at the state of you!” This morning on the wet cold sand I stood outside myself and saw the two worried pals helping me to my feet, the dogs running around, excited by this new game, the gasping woman covered in sand and bruises, doubled over and struggling for air and yet laughing fit to bust, and I thought, with great clarity, ‘Absurd’.
We human beings are so clumsy, so flawed, so resilient, so foolish, so wayward, you just have to laugh.
Are you wondering what my other two words are? I think maybe I won’t tell you both of them, it would be a confidence taken just a tiny step too far. But I’ll tell you my second word – ‘loved‘.
I am absurd and I am loved.
That’ll do me. I am loved by God and also, also, listen, I am loved by the love of God in the people around me. Loved.
And so, whoever you are, are you. You are loved as you read these words. And that makes you strong. That means that when you are knocked down, or fall over nothing, or trip over a trouble, or smack into a brick wall, or are overcome with grief, or feel the weight of years, you are strong. You’re strong not just because you’re amazing (you are!) but because God loves you.
He will gather the lambs in His arms and carry them close to His heart.
He will be gentle in leading those that are with young.