The Pilgrimage to the Curb


Day 4 of kindergarten and we keep going.  We sleep at night and then rise to try again the next day.  Perhaps life’s greatest gift: the chance to do it again the next day; the chance it might be different; the chance something will happen that will leave us more alive at day’s end.

Last night after a long day, we got to hymn #19 from our new nightly ritual of singing from the hymnal.  I lay beside him in bed and I close the day with these words sung to my tired-from-courage boy…

Everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

This morning, before I turned on the light, I climbed beside him in his dark room and rubbed his back.  I ran my fingers through his hair, smoothing the night’s worries.  I tried to start his day in the memory of being known and cherished by his mother.  I put him together for the day – for his sake and for mine.

Drew was home so younger brother got to keep sleeping.  We got to the bus stop early and found our seat on the curb.  The curb is our new threshold space.  The curb is our new sanctuary.


I had never noticed the curb while driving through the neighborhood, but now it is the space that holds us before the big moment comes – the yellow bus coming down the street.  Once the big moment comes, the active part of our relationship temporarily evaporates until he steps down off the bus in the afternoon.  It is the launching pad.  It is the sacrificial altar.

For those few moments on the curb, all is paused and we are together, still occupying our roles as mother and son.  He plays his role – rattling on about a Hot Wheels car he wants – and I play mine – listening only partially because I am so entranced watching his face.  Faint freckles from summer, blonde eyelashes, mystery held within… able to to be perceived but never fully captured in its entirety.

I pray while listening to him ramble on…

Be with him.  Be the world the surrounds him.  Be in the warm welcome from his teacher and in the smile from a classmate.  Be in the joy of learning and discovery.  Be in the pulse that races as he gets nervous.  Be a presence in his mind, re-membering who he is and whose he is.  

Yes, I would seek your comfort and peace, too – but stay too busy by his side.

As the bus emerges and he steps forward, full of trepidation, the prayers continue.

I walk home humming to myself the hymn we sang on Monday night.  It is the tune that keeps me company until I make the pilgrimage back to the curb in the afternoon, ready to receive, bless, and return to God the day’s offering.

This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world, why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King! Let heaven ring! God reigns! Let earth be glad!

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