Post image for Juni

by DanWolgemuth on April 21, 2017

It had been nearly two months since I had held our granddaughter. Alli and Chris had flown to the Dominican Republic when she was two months old, and now, nearly the same length of time later, she was back in my hands.

In those two months she had added a few more rolls, but then, hadn’t we all. In those two months she had lost the layer of black hair that had covered her head… now it was fuzz.

Now this beautiful little baby was placed in my arms once again. Her skin was the soft canvas that I had held in late February. A sweet wave of joy washed over me.

Two months before, with similar positioning, I had held Juni as she was tightly wrapped in a warm blanket. She was like a burrito with a pulse. When she opened her eyes they darted without focus and her expressions were unprovoked and random.

But now, at just under four months, we made eye contact for the first time. She saw me. Her focus invited response, and so I obliged. With bobbing head I rocked and talked without regard to public opinion or professional decorum. I cooed and babbled and beamed in pure delight. Then, in contagious response, Juni mirrored my joy. A smile broke across her face. Not the random uninspiring smile of a newborn, but the smile of a responsive heart. A response in response to a smile. A noise in response to a noise.

Juni smiled because unconstrained smiles had been lavished on her. Juni echoed joy because joy surrounded her.

Alli, Chris, Desmond and Abe had smiled on her before she could meaningfully smile back. Day after day after day. Smiles without reply.

But then, somewhere between February and April, a smile. And again.

She smiled because her family first smiled on her.

And now, the enthralled and whiskered face of a 61-year-old grandpa produced a response. A smile.

While Alli and Chris were doing their best to learn Spanish, Juni was learning to smile. Juni was learning love.

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)

We smile because He first smiled on us.

Our capacity to love, our ability to respond with joy, is something we have learned from the God who made us.

While I was just a burrito with a pulse, my Father spoke to me. He loved me. He poured smiles over me.

This is why, when I live a life of love, I bring joy to my Father. I delight His heart.

In His arms I rest. His smile becomes mine. His love invades my soul.

Juni smiled.

Because she had been smiled upon.

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