Almost weekly, my little girl meticulously cuts out paper hearts, writes the name of a classmate on the inside followed by a simple sentence and simple question: “I like you. Will you be my friend?”
And she puts it out there. Hands it to her fellow 1st grader, innocently hopeful, desperate for a kind reply.
Last year, she struggled with finding friends, claiming that once they “connected,” after a little while “they would break away” and “unconnect.” And I watched her simple, little paper heart fall crumpled to the ground. But every day, every week, every month of that year, she picked it up again, smoothed out the wrinkles, and tried handing to the next little girl or little boy.
I cried for her.
She cried, too.
This year is better. She has friends, and she is a loyal friend–wanting to share her life with each one, holding nothing back. She prays for them at night, big prayers. She prays that they will have wisdom. She prays that they will choose good friends. She prays that they will know right from wrong. She prays that they will love Jesus.
Oh, her heart! It is so big and so full of love and goodness. I want to protect it, keep it safe from all of those people and all of those classmates who toss it around carelessly.
But perhaps she knows better than I that a heart is no good if it’s caged up and away from everyone. Perhaps she knows that her God can bind up the broken-hearted–
even a little, crumpled, paper heart.