Butch Cassidy and The Wild Bunch (Photo Source)
(To celebrate my new web page and in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm re-sharing some old posts this week focusing on the topic of love. Today's post is from February 2013. Stop back tomorrow for another look at the many ways love finds us.)
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"They crucified two rebels with him, one on his left and one on his right." Matthew 27:38
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My 18 month-old twins saunter through the house with swaggering bravado like two black-hats straight out of the lawless west. Working together, they form a mafia-esque crime-ring, a rebellious conspiracy against law and order and decency. Trafficking in black market goods pilfered from the pile of floor-sweepings in the kitchen corner, they gather on the back of the love seat, perched in the window to inspect and trade their haul.
They rip the heads off of their sister’s dolls and leave graffiti on the living room walls and every time I kneel to zip Isaiah’s coat, Levi circles around behind me and roots through my purse. A gifted pick-pocket, he snatches my wallet and phone with such speed, stealth and precision that even I, the victim, have to marvel.
When one is finally caught red-handed, and placed in solitary (ie. the corner) the other comes quickly to the rescue, crouching down beside him, chattering what I imagine are plans of daring-escape and revenge. Like true accomplices, though, they quickly turn on each other when caught together at the scene of a crime – a mutually enjoyed destruction turns all finger-pointing and tears when the fuzz shows up.
The other day I watched Levi running through the house with what appeared to be a little shiv. It sported a jagged, plastic tip and looked capable of inflicting real harm, so I quickly confiscated it, tossing it into the trash.
As we lay in bed at night, my husband and I hear a “scritch, scratch, scritch” on the bedroom wall near our heads. Levi’s crib sits just on the other side of the wall, so we sleep head-to-head, divided only by a few thin inches of plaster. We tell ourselves he’s rubbing the nubby bottoms of his footed pajamas against the wall, but as I lay listening late into the night, I think of that little shiv and wonder if he isn’t tunneling his way to freedom one tiny scratch at a time. I picture him tumbling through into our bed some night, his face full of surprise and delight to find us there waiting.
These boys are outlaws, I tell you. Even so little, so cute, they have a rap sheet a mile-long. Looking at their round faces, their hair all downy-fluff, I'm reminded that we’re all thieves, all outlaws of one sort or another, every last one of us. We’re all Davids and Delilahs, Judases and Peters, bent on greed and self-preservation. We're all convicted, but not condemned, chiseling our way toward freedom, one tiny crack at a time, until at last we fall through the walls built of our own resistance. Imagine our faces, then, full of surprise and relief to find ourselves landing in the lap of a love so wide and deep even our darkest sins can never exempt us from its reach.