Andrew and I went up to visit with some friends in Boston a few months ago. We needed some father-son hangout time. We played some pool and air hockey in the man cave. I worked on a project with my friend and he played some NBA 2K17 with a cool guy named Tim.
It was great. A fun weekend doing some new things with new people. Our rhythms can become ruts and sometimes it takes being in a different place to ask different questions and have different conversations.
It was our last night there. Andrew and I were sharing a room. It was the second time he had stayed up until 11PM in a row. We talked about the day. We prayed together. We prayed for us and for the trip home, for Mom and Emma at home, for our friends and their home. As I travel, I always bless the places I stay. I pray that God would cover them. That the doorways would bring people in, not just to a room or a home, but to a place of presence and blessing. I try to touch the door frames and whisper a blessing when I leave. I was telling Andrew about that and he wanted to do that together. He prayed for our friends and their family while I listened. A few tears streaked down my cheek as I leaned over him and kissed his forehead. I whispered, “I am so grateful for the heart that God has given you.”
Settling into bed, I heard him turn. “Dad?”
“Sometimes I think my heart is bigger than my face.”
I chuckled, trying to figure out what was happening in his head. “I think that might be true, what do you mean?”
“Sometimes it feels so big inside me, I don’t know how it fits in there.”
It was one of those points where the breath just goes out of you. This is a surreal level of self-awareness for a 9-year old.
“And sometimes it feels like it comes out and it’s in front of me. Like it’s bigger than my face.”
That’s the gospel, isn’t it? A huge heart that cannot be contained. That’s the ministry of Jesus everywhere He went. His heart was always out front. It was first and it always seemed bigger than the rest. It was bigger than His senses, than the rules, than the expectations, than the boxes built for it. His heart was bigger than every idea they had come up with. It still is.
That’s a heart I need. One that’s too big for me to hold inside. One that I have to share with others. One that I can’t bury or hide or keep contained. A heart that is out in front of me. I want a heart that shapes and expands the ideas and expectations of my faith and not the other way around. I want a heart that’s bigger than my face.
We talked a little while longer that night. We decided to head home in the morning instead of going to the New England aquarium. “I miss Mom and Emma.” “Me, too, buddy.” He wanted to pray again so we did. Then we drifted off to sleep.
Happy 10th birthday tomorrow, buddy. You’re a daily inspiration to me and the perfect gift.