As I entered the lift, a kid, clearly red faced from crying, saw me looking at him and immediately hid behind his mum (or at least some lady who I assume is his mum).
All I could think of was how I just wanted to put my hand on his tiny shoulder or give him a pat on the head. It didn’t matter if his face was red and sticky with tears, or even if he did some crap that legitimately warrants a nice scolding. All that mattered was that he was crying. And something in me kept poking and pressing my internal sympathy buttons.
But the more I looked, the more he hid from me in what I suspect was shame (or maybe just fear la sebab ada creepy stranger tengok kot. Siapa lah tidak creeped out kalau macam tu). But I was thinking “budak nangis biasa la tu, kau tu malu kenapa?”.
And I saw myself in him.
I am that sniffly kid – snivelling, snot nosed and puffy eyed, hiding from God out of shame. As if hiding would make any difference. As if God doesn’t see. As if God doesn’t know.
Not that God doesn’t discipline his kids. I’m thinking that hand in hand with the role of disciplinarian is this other side of God: the father who just really wants to tuck us under his arms and wipe away all that snot from our sticky, tear stained faces. That Father, who actually wants us to come to him, with whatever shameful thing, rather than sniffle and snivel alone in a corner. Yang malu, aku jer. God boleh jer handle.