Before last night, the Wiggles was pretty much the bane of my existence. The thought of hearing "toot-toot chugga-chugga big red car!" or "fruit salad... yummy! yummy!" again made me want to bang my head against a wall over and over again.
Levi and Evan, however, do not share my feelings. In fact, Levi adores the Wiggles. He even has an Anthony doll (it's even creepier than it sounds). So you can imagine our excitement when someone gave us tickets to see their live show at the Ryman. Our excitement for Levi, that is. I had no interest in seeing the Wiggles live. Actually, if there's such a thing as negative interest, that's what I had.
Even I didn't quite know what I was thinking when I said I wanted to go. I was surprised at myself. I couldn't' quite believe I was voluntarily putting myself through hours of the Wiggles. My best guess is that it really had nothing to do with the Wiggles themselves, but rather with Levi. I was excited to see his reaction, to see how happy it made him.
So last night, carrying a red backpack, and holding one small, but very excited hand, I walked into the Ryman with Levi and Dad to see the Wiggles live.
I don't know that I've ever seen Levi as surprised and excited as he was when the Wiggles came out on that stage! He was dancing and clapping and singing and yelling. He was a very happy boy.
But never so happy as when Murray Wiggle came up to the balcony to collect the roses that some members of the audience had brought for the strange flower-ivore dinosaur. I was praying with every fiber of my being that Murray would even walk past us, just so Levi could get a glimpse of him up close. I nearly lost my breath when Murray came right up to Levi, gave him a high-five, and told him he liked the guitars on his t-shirt. Levi was overjoyed! "Murray, Murray!" he kept saying over and over.
Truly, there are few times that I remember being happier. Seeing the joy on Levi's face just nearly burst my heart wide open! I teared up. Yes, at a Wiggles concert. A Wiggles concert is the last place on earth I thought I would cry, but there you have it.
My respect for the Wiggles, especially Murray, skyrocketed. And, would you believe it, Murray deliberately sought out each and every one of the special needs children in that balcony and talked to them. My heart was so full. When I got home, I wrote Murray Wiggle a thank-you note. I don't know if he'll ever read it, but it was well worth writing it.
What struck me the most about the whole thing was Murray's intentionality. He intentionally spent time with those kids who had special needs because he wanted them to feel special.
How often do we forget to be intentional in our lives? Focusing only on how other people treat us instead of how we treat other people? How often do we neglect to be intentional with our friends, our families, and those that look up to us?
I've had the incredible opportunity to help mentor a group of rising ninth-grade girls this year at my church, and intentionality has really been brought to the forefront with me. I remember being their age, and having a "big sister" who was an older girl in the youth church. I remember how special it made me feel when my "big sister" would seek me out and ask me how I was, or take me to go get coffee.
I've realized that regardless of whether I continue leading these girls or not, I need to be intentional with them. I want them to feel as special as I did when my "big sister" took me to Starbucks. I want them to feel as good as I did when my summer mentor texted me to see how I was. I want to be that for them.
More than that, though, I want to be that person for everyone in my life. I don't want to be the person that waits on other people to come to me. I want to be there for them. So that they know that they are loved, they are special, they are worth my time and energy. Because God thinks they're special, that they're worth it. And if they can see just a tiny glimpse of who God is through me, any amount of time, energy, money, or anything else will have been completely and totally worth it.