There was a Nerf ban in our household.
Lonny gave the boys Nerf crossbows. My mom blessed them with turbo launchers with some sort of laser thing. My girlfriend brought Nerf with spin holders. And Logan brought PVC mouth shooters from his dorm floor.
The ban was lifted.
It took me about forty seconds to remember why it had been locked down in the first place. It didn't take long at all to rediscover why we've been Nerf-free for so many years.
So this morning Gabe is at his desk crafting like a wild man. He has a Styrofoam plate. Construction paper. Glue. I sweep by and kiss his sweet cheek. His head is dips low. His hands are swift. His tongue pokes out of the corner of his mouth in the way that it does when he's lost in creation. I walk away and leave him to his task.
A little while later I'm in the kitchen. I'm slicing fruit when a blue bullet whizzes by. It nearly grazes my arm, but it flies past and I hear it smack the fridge tight.
I wipe my hands and go to find the boy. But I don't have to go far because the boy has found me first. He peers around the corner with eyes that are hopeful and wide.
"Did I get it, Mom? Did I hit the bull's-eye?"
I look behind me. There's a Styrofoam plate taped to the fridge door. There are blue and yellow paper rings and the center is bull's-eye red.
The Nerf bullet is stuck well to the left. Between a basketball schedule and the shopping list.
"You missed, little boy," I say. I'm about to remind him of much I do not enjoy dodging Nerf bullets. But I begin thinking about the bull's-eye instead. My mind shifts to that homemade paper target that's hanging on my fridge.
I want to live my life on target. I want to shoot for the center red.
It's simple really. Jesus sums it up nice and neat in the book of Matthew. A Pharisee questions him - asks him which is the greatest commandment in the Law.
Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
So I wipe the counters and clatter dishes and these words, this direction, becomes the prayer of my heart. I want to love Him with all that I have. I want to love others well, too. And when I fall short there's love in sweet grace.
Gabe disappears. He's off to find the brothers or he's off to do something else.
But I'm keeping the homemade target. I'm going to leave it just where it's at.
It's a great reminder of where I want to aim my time, my decisions, my reactions, my affections, my desire, my heart, my love.
In His grace, I'm going for bull's-eye red.