He sang the ditty to the brisk rhythm of our steps as we walked down the sidewalk. We were in our own little world, beyond the chaos of the place we called home. My dad wasn’t much of a singer. However, on those walks he would dare to stir the still evening air with the sound of his low voice. It was a whimsical love song he would sing for my ears only.
“I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck.”
They were endearing lyrics that would never escape my memory. I would repeat them back to him. Then, lightheartedly, we would sing the melody together as we strolled along under the streetlights.
Being as young as I was, I had no idea what a bushel and a peck was, or if there really was such a thing. However, I knew what a hug around the neck was, and wondered in my little mind, How much love is a hug around the neck? I figured it must be worth a lot, considering that my dad used it in his mysterious method of measuring, and took into account its huge significance whenever wrapping my arms around his neck. Then, I would give him a kiss on the cheek, like icing on a cake, letting him know my love for him was even more than a hug.
My father made it no mystery to me that he loved me, and demonstrated it in so many ways. It was worth far more than just a hug around the neck…I knew that.
Being a parent now, I realize that mere words could never fully express to my kids how I feel about them. I tell them I love them, and with a hug and a kiss, I know the meaning is not fully conveyed. They will never fully comprehend my love for them until they have children of their own. Only then could they possibly understand.
I have grown through seasons of life from a small girl to a woman.
Now, I hear, in my heart, a love song from my Heavenly Father. I am my Father’s daughter finding myself still asking the same question as I did in my youth, "How great is your love for me?"
I read His love letters in His Word and ponder, How far is the east from the west? How high are the heavens? How much love did it require for you to sacrifice your precious Son on a cross for me, to die a merciless death? His love overwhelms me, and in my humanity, I cannot fathom the answer to these questions, for there is nothing in this world to compare it to. It is an extravagant love beyond human understanding.
As a child I wondered, How much love is a hug around the neck and a kiss on the cheek? Now, although my heart searches much deeper, and with broader boundaries, I still cannot grasp the extent of His love. It is beyond measure.