Known By Heart
By Leslie W. Bertucci
I love seeing life through the eyes of my grandchildren. It helps me remember events from my own childhood and appreciate things I often take for granted.
Like 4-year-old Ollie, I loved books as a child. I still do. I remember one of my favorite pastimes was grabbing a book from my shelf, climbing my favorite tree and appreciate things I often take for granted. I imagined I was part of the story, and the other characters were my friends. I learned many stories by heart, and their plots are still with me to this day.
I recently read the Mercer Mayer classic, “There’s an Alligator Under my Bed” to Ollie and Abbie for the 100th time. It’s their current favorite. (We’ve moved on from “There’s a Nightmare in My Closet,” last year’s choice.) When I finished, I asked Ollie to read it to me, saying, “I’ll bet you know it by heart now.”
He looked at me quizzically and asked, “By heart? What does that mean?” I realized this was a new expression to him, so I explained, “‘By heart’ means you have it in your heart forever because you love it so much. You’ll always remember it. Like the prayers we say and the stories we love.”
And then it occurred to me: Isn’t that how God knows us, by heart? Aren’t we carved on the palm of his hand and embedded forever in his heart? Doesn’t he know us backwards and forwards, inside and out? And yet he still loves us better than anyone else ever could. Even more than I love my grandchildren, and that’s saying a lot.
I’m grateful for these reminders that come from God, through the lips of my grandchildren, of the important things I’ve forgotten, still deep in my heart.