Hula Hoop Hugs

I never got the hang of the hula hoop. I just couldn’t get my body to figure out when to go left and when to go right. It was actually more of a hazard for me than a jump rope…and if you think about all the ways jumping rope can go wrong…

But the other day I was speaking with my mom. Our little buddy, Froglegs, was having a little sadness in his heart and we couldn’t fix it. He is one of the thousands of children whose “father” can’t be bothered to care for him. And somehow, it is especially hard at the beginning of the school year.

Imagine wanting to be in Cub Scouts without a dad? Or signing up for soccer and no dad to help you practice and cheer for you? What about when you play baseball and you have to play with your “papa” who can’t run as fast anymore?

All those father-son activities are hard enough, but then…where is that “father” when you have serious questions like “Why aren’t you a good dad?” or “Don’t you love me?” or “Why don’t you ever call me?” or “Why did you move so far away from me?”

You see, my little Froglegs has a very tender heart. His little heart has been bloodied far too many times by this man who doesn’t deserve the title of “father.” And my little buddy asks the tough questions and demands honest answers. He can smell a lie or a shifty answer before we can.

So, as my mother and I were talking about the little broken-hearted boy, my mother said, “You give him a special hula hoop hug from his great Nana!”

“A hula hoop hug?” I asked.

“Yes. My arms would wrap around him just like a hula hoop circle.”

I thought about that. A hula hoop hug. That was the best description I could think of to remind that little boy how much we all love him. That no matter who was failing him, he could count on our love wrapping all the way around him.

But then I realized that, in a way, our promise of forever being there is really not true. We are older. We have health problems. Our lives, in reality, are frail and subject to disease and death.

While I cannot promise that we will always be here to offer hula hoop hugs, I CAN promise a greater love, a more steadfast love that will never, ever fail my little Froglegs. There is only one who can offer that eternal love, our Savior.

He promises that He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He is the Father to the fatherless and the husband to the widow. He is the Friend who is closer than a brother. That Gentle Shepherd and paschal Lamb. And His love is even better than a hula hoop hug.

1 John 3:1-3

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

3 Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ.

Oh, dear children of mine (forgive the affection of an old man!), have you realised it? Here and now we are God’s children. We don’t know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is!

Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is.

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