“Mikkee, I just want you to always be you.”
Said the sweet 5-year old boy who knows me well as he drifted off to sleep. I had just spent the prior half-hour cajoling and threatening to get him to brush his teeth already. His words made me smile in the moment. Then I thought about it and realized what a profound gift he had given me.
Words carry inexplicable power to tear down and to build up. Often I have felt not good enough, shame was in all of my creases, and slowly God has brought healing through a variety of methods. His words were powerful in their simplicity. They pushed love and acceptance into those creases, squeezing out more of the shame. Mr. Fred Rogers (arguably a great philosopher) once said, “You know, I think everybody longs to be loved, and longs to know that he or she is lovable. And, consequently, the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.”
This is exactly what those words gave me, a sense of being loveable. If he had said, “I love you,” his words would have not had as much impact. He told me I was valued, not for who I could be or who I should be or what he hoped for me to be. No, he loved me, as I am, with no request to change me. He has seen me at my best and at my worst and he likes me just as I am, imperfect but loving.