When my niece Addie was almost two, my family headed to Washington State to visit my grandparents. The 2,000-mile trip made for a long day . . . even for those of us who weren’t toddlers. By the time we drove to the airport, changed planes, rented a car, and headed over the mountains to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we’d spent an entire day using transportation of some kind. Add that to the two-hour time difference, and we had a pretty tired two-year-old on our hands.
Gratefully, Addie was a champion traveler and charmed the entire plane. But when we got to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, she toddled over to me, her eyes plaintive. “Eppie ebbow!” she said.
I looked at her, confused. The “Eppie” part was easy—that’s my auntie alias. But “ebbow”? What was she trying to tell me?
“Can you show me?” I asked.
She dutifully pointed to my elbow, but I was still at a loss for what that signified.
Finally I called in my sister, Addie’s mom, for some clues. “What does it mean if Addie is asking for my elbow?”
Meghan laughed. “Oh, she’s asking you to hold her in a rocking position—with her head in your elbow.”
Of course! I was only too happy to oblige.
Just a few months later, Addie’s world turned upside down when her parents brought home a baby brother. She had been practicing her big-sister skills with her doll (whom she called “Pink Baby”), but we weren’t sure how she’d adjust to not being the baby of the family anymore.
Most of all, how would she respond when someone else took the prime spot in her mama’s elbow?
When Meghan and Ted returned from the hospital with their precious bundle wrapped in a blue quilt, I held my breath, wondering how the introduction with the newly minted big sister would go. Would she be jealous? Would she feel bumped out of prime elbow territory?
I needn’t have worried. The first thing she said after inspecting little Grant was “Addie ebbow.” Then she sat down on the couch, ready to put her little brother in the crook of her own arm.
Here I was afraid she’d want Mama’s elbow for herself, and she was offering her elbow to her baby brother.
At two years old, Addie was living out this verse in 2 Corinthians:
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God comforts us—he lets us rest in the cook of his arm, if you will. And in turn, he invites us to share that comfort with other hurting people.
When we know there’s no scarcity of love, we don’t have to hoard the comfort we’ve been given; we don’t have to be jealous for it. Instead, we can receive it with gratitude . . . and then extend it to someone else.
Have known the comfort of your Father’s elbow? If so, don’t keep that love to yourself. Find someone else who needs an elbow too, and share his comfort with them. And if you haven’t felt that comfort, know that his arm is ready, waiting just for you.
What’s your story? Has someone passed on God’s comfort to you? Or have you passed it on to someone else?