My son, Nate, is anti-affection. When people leave our house, he makes himself scarce. I guess he thinks it’s just not worth the risk of being hugged or high-fived. He’d prefer to just disappear when visitors act like it might be time to go. And when we leave someone else’s house he’s the first one in the car. It sure will be interesting to see what it’s like for “don’t touch me” Nate to be married!
Yet, thankfully, there are a few exceptions to his no-affection rule. If I check on him after he goes to bed, he leans down from his top bunk and clings to my neck with such a firm grasp that I worry he’ll fall right out of bed. Needless to say, I check on him often.
On Wednesday we went skiing at Whitetail in Pennsylvania. It is like a hundred miles from our house and it is awesome. I mean it’s not Alta awesome, but the idea that we can drive there in less than two hours makes it awesome enough for me. The boys have both declared that Wednesday was the windiest day of their entire lives. And I think it may have been the windiest day of my entire life. We have gear to beat the band — balaclavas and fuzzy, warm padded helmets, ski coats and goggles, gloves and pants. But we were still cold.
So guess who wanted to cuddle all the way up the mountain? That’s right, Nate. It almost melted away the frustration of the lift stopping four chairs from the top and being whipped around like a flag on the top of Everest, which seemed to be a component of every trip up. But the affection of the unaffectionate is special, isn’t it? Nate cuddling is a special treat and I relish every second of it.
1 John 3:18 says “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Nate is not going to shower me with flowery language or frequent kisses, yet his uncommon affection has an authenticity that is very affirming.
It makes me think about my own authenticity? Do I love with actions and in truth? Or am I too full of words and lacking in deeds? And does my affection mean something like Nate’s does?
How about you? How does John’s warning about loving with mere words make you feel?