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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Best Friend

October 16th, 2004

“Daddy, I haffa tell you somthin’.”

“What is it, Emma?”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too, Emma. More than you know.”

“Daddy, you my best fwend!”

“You’re my best friend, too, Emma.”

“But you my best fwend first.”

I started to disagree, but left her with a big hug and a kiss on the head instead. It’s tough to debate a soon to be 4-year old. They possess a maddening combination of stubbornness and charm. I could say, “Emma, you’re wrong.” But she’d just tilt her head and respond with a confident sing-song lilt in her voice, “Noooo, I’m not.”

When it comes to being best friends, Emma thinks she picked me first. In her mind, it was all her idea. A decision she made and allowed me the privilege of being part of. “You my best fwend first.” Of course, it wasn’t that way. We adopted Emma and her twin sister Annie. It was our decision to make them part of our family. Our choice. We picked them.

Emma thinks it was all her idea, this best friend business. She’s too young to understand that it was just the opposite. She’s too young to understand what it was like for her Daddy to stand frozen between two incubators in a Spokane neonatal intensive care unit, not knowing what to do. Like being in an art museum in front of a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh, not knowing which masterpiece to look at first.

She doesn’t understand what her Daddy felt like the first time he saw her tiny three pound fourteen ounce frame and feel the life changing reality of realizing that little bundle would be coming home with him to stay. She’s too young to understand the thrill and the fear and the wee hour bleary-eyed wonder with which her Daddy gazed at her, night after night after night.

Emma thinks she chose me. Of course, I know otherwise. She didn’t choose me. I chose her. I laugh at Emma’s short sighted self-confidence. But I wonder…

How often does God laugh at me for the same reason? How often does He shake His head and smile at my myopic ideas? Truth be told, how often do I “choose God”? Too often, I fear. Though my head knows the correct theological answer that God chose me first, my actions sometimes show otherwise. I choose God to be my best friend when it’s convenient for me. God is my idea that I move around in my schedule. On Sundays I move Him up on the priority list. It’s His day, after all. But Monday to Saturday God sometimes gets shuffled around like an appointment I know I need to keep, but can’t commit to. So I choose to slide Him down after work is over. Or slide Him up if I have an opening or when I’m in a pinch. All the while forgetting that God being my best friend wasn’t my idea. It was His. He chose me. His idea first.

Someday I hope Emma and Annie will understand how much I love them. I hope they will understand that I gladly chose them to be part of my family. To be my kids. To live fully and enjoy everything I have to offer them. I hope they someday realize my unconditional, unwavering, fiercely protective, never ending love for them.

God probably hopes that someday I will understand that, too.

“We love because God first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19