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      The Lap

      A reflection on Psalm 17:8-15

      Where are you hiding, my little friend? Are you under the bed?”

      I kneel on the floor, lift up the quilt and peer into the darkness. Nope. Not there.

      I sneak quietly over to the closet and burst the door open with a loud “HAH!” But no luck.

      With my I-know-where-you're-hiding-song voice I announce boldly, “I'll bet you're in the shower!” I always liked to hide crouched in the tub behind the shower curtain holding back the inevitable snicker which would give away my location. But no, not there either.

      I am playing hide-and-seek with my inner child. I look high and low. I look in every room of my imagination, every chamber of my heart and cannot find it. I sink, slightly frustrated into the recliner by the couch. I really need my little one today. I am such a wreck. I could just sit here with the remote and channel surf my way into a numbing mindless coma. Or I could deal with it. I need to crawl inside. Lord, give me the strength to keep looking.

      And then, there! In the pile of pillows under the afghan lies a restful, triumphant, smiling little “me” with an eye half open smirking playfully. I crawl under the covers and snuggle my little one into my arms and start to laugh. We both begin to giggle.

      I have found the door to my inner refuge, my inner strength. I crawl through the opening and become my inner child – at least for now. I rest while the freedom, peace and joy of innocence washes through my soul.

      I look around the room and everything is so much bigger than before. The couch isn’t just a piece of furniture; it’s a big expansive playground. With a graceful overplayed flair, I slide off the couch and onto the rug with a thud. I lie there watching the sunlight play on the ceiling for a moment, then roll my head toward the easy chair and see legs. Oooooh legs. The itsy-bitsy spider likes legs. Legs become water spouts and the itsy-bitsy spider makes its way up them while I hum the song. Then the rains come and wash the itsy-bitsy spider all the way back onto the floor. The mental image of a spider shaking off the rain like a dog makes me giggle.

      Whose legs are these? They are not the ones of my dad or any of my uncles. They also are not the ones of a stranger. No. This man belongs here. I think he lives here. These legs are relaxed and comfortable and, oh so inviting.

      As I stand to investigate. I feel hands reach under my arms and lift me into his lap. I sink softly into his embrace and lay my head on his shoulder. As I slowly, calmly, close my eyes, he runs his fingers through my hair. He strokes my cheek with the back of his hand. He wraps his huge loving arms around me. I look up to see his face.

      He has long hair -- thick black hair. I curiously reach to touch it and am astonished at how soft it feels. Not at all like I expected. Maybe he uses conditioner. That’s just silly.

      As I explore his face, I make little curly-cues in his hair with my fingers. The smile on his face encourages me to continue. I run my finger playfully down his nose, across his lips, down his neck and onto his chest. I slide my hand up the far side of his neck and give him a playful peck on the cheek.

      His eyes -- oh my God! Look at these eyes! Look into these eyes!! Eyes the color of rich dark chocolate syrup that go on and on forever. They are the most loving inviting eyes I have ever seen. Smiling broadly and wide-eyed, he draws me gently closer and closer to his face until I can see my reflection in the shine of his pupil. I appear as the “apple” of his eye. Our eyelashes “kiss”. Butterfly kisses. How silly. I love it.

      I slink back down into the nest of his embrace, close my eyes gently with a contented smile, and drift off to sleep -- a profoundly restful sleep. A sleep like no other, for this is a lap like no other … yet curiously familiar. This lap is warm, soft, and inviting. This lap is free from worry, free from pain, free from guilt or shame. This lap is quiet … protected ... safe. This lap will never tire of my being here.

      … for this is the lap of Jesus.

      My adult-me tries to wrap its cognitive arms around what it means to become the “apple” of His eyes. I am the little doll – the mini-me – reflected in the eyes of Jesus. And He, too, can see His reflection in me. There is something profoundly eternal in that understanding. Just as Jesus can see His own reflection in my eyes, my neighbors can see His reflection in me as well -- at least that's the plan, isn't it?

      As I rest in His arms, I wonder why it is so hard to reach this level of intimacy as an adult with the One who created me. I cannot imagine myself being this close to Him, eyelash-to-eyelash, except as a child. But I let all that analyzing drift off with a puff of my breath and allow myself to rest. For I know that when I awake, His likeness in me will be renewed. And in that alone, I shall be satisfied.