Ari’s Kissing Game

Ari’s lifts his chin and sticks out his lower lip when he wants a goodbye kiss. His mom and dad are loving parents, so he is a kissy kid—well, unless he is punching or headbutting you (Ari is two). When I come home and give Teckla a kiss, Ari wants one too. The funny thing is that after I kiss him, he points to Teckla, indicating I should kiss her again. And then he wants another kiss. Then he again points to Teckla. This is Ari’s kissing game.

Although this is cuter than anyone can imagine, I suspect the game expresses a deeper truth about love and the human heart. We not only long to be loved, but we also long for the people around us to love each other. Thus, Ari’s delight when I kiss Teckla. The other day after I gave him a kiss, he pointed to Teckla and then pointed to my brother Stanley to whom I blew a kiss. Ari only seems happy when the people around him love each other.

I think when we are lifting our faces to God in love and praise on Sunday mornings, God plays Ari’s kissing game. He delights in the kiss of our praise, but like Ari, God quickly points to those around us. God delights as much in us loving each other as in loving Him. He thinks the two should go together.

Ari’s instinct is right in another way. It should never be enough for us to be loved and blessed by God. Like Ari after a kiss, we should be asking God to kiss those around us with his grace and goodness. Our kisses should always ascend vertically to God and horizontally to those around us—kind of like a cross.

About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.
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