For long stretches, the boys turned from bodies-in-motion to bodies-in-wonder as they stood out in the waves and watched the ocean water crashing in upon their legs. I’m sure they squealed at the wonder of it all, but their noises did not reach me as I sat on the sand. I marveled at the scene. The waves were powerful forces that represented equal parts wonder and danger. But the boys did not waver before the waves for they held their father’s hand.
Holding my father’s hand, I have learned that strength is both fought for (feet pounding upon pavement for miles) and received (hands open in humility). Not sought for its own sake, strength is nurtured for the process of creating something true, something beautiful, and something enduring for the world to enjoy. My father has been my gardener who cultivates within me curiosity for life’s mysteries, appreciation for humanity’s story, and the practice of sowing kindness lavishly over all soil. I am who I am because I have held my father’s hand.
Holding my husband’s hand, I have learned that life is better lived in collaboration. Alone, I can ensure the survival of our sons. Together, we can ensure the flourishing of them. He is my partner with whom we are crazy enough to believe that we can raise these boys no matter what the day brings. He is steadfast and content in a way that tempers my intensity. He nurtures the boys’ courage to take risks and exemplifies fidelity to his commitments. Our boys are becoming who they are because they hold their father’s hands.
The waves are full of wonder and full of danger, but hand-in-hand we persist and are transformed.
For all the fathers who hold hands, I pause and give thanks.
Ten years since your passing, I devote my morning to you on this anniversary. Amidst getting the oldest to the bus stop, feeding the youngest, and “being with” the middle, I have tried to write you to somehow connect with you across time and space. The written word is insufficient. My memories are starting to show wear and tear. The distance from your family during this sabbatical year makes the time and space feel all the more insurmountable.
The reality of your death feels more comfortable than the memory of it. When the memory is fresh, then it feels like news – when your death was newly received or noteworthy; when it was not true and then when it suddenly was. Living in the space of time close to when it might not have been makes me remember the inherent hope that there could be some cosmic re-ordering of events in time that could right the wrong, fix the mortal problem, or resurrect the recently dead. Continue reading
The oldest yearns for support, appreciation, and encouragement for his creativity. The middle yearns for constant presence and companionship. The youngest yearns for basic needs and safety. Ultimately, their hearts yearn for our God who covenants with God’s people to offer purpose, belonging, and refuge. They seek The Promise.
My world revolves around The Promise. I am its steward who dispenses The Promise. I am its agent who puts The Promise in action. I am its incarnation whose very physical being embodies The Promise. I am created in the image of The Promise. I am a mother. Continue reading
“Upon the infant’s arrival, the parents do
one of the most important and dangerous things
that will happen to the child:
in wonder and with risk they name him.”
– Martin Marty
It always feels a bit odd at first to hear the name in others’ mouths. For nine months, it has been spoken of in hypotheticals while the child still claims primary home within me; no need for a name for he is so deep within and with me that he was subsumed by my own being.
But the moment he emerges, the name comes from our lips and lands upon him – a blessing which, once spoken, is his to grow into for all the days he is given. It is now his name and his alone.
I prepare now to enter into the liminal space where created life moves from the divine unknown into the worn, faulty hands of flesh. They say that you cannot see the face of God and live. To welcome the newly born might be just like that. Just as this baby boy will emerge from this divine-human threshold, we will perish and be born anew. A new me will emerge – born of death and resurrection and heeding the call to go out and embark on a whole new world.
For the ones who receive the newborn into our care, standing in the threshold is a risky place to be. The only way to the threshold is through pregnancy pains or adoption anxieties. The pressure weighs heavy, distorts our very physical bodies, and leaves us trembling before the mystery.
To the Brothers in Our Home,
Your dad and I sit in a special spot. We get to be with you, observe you, and guide you for these years that you will not remember perfectly but will be affected by greatly. As I watched you play the other day, I couldn’t help but want your future selves to be able to see these present moments as we see them.
Life is about to change. A new baby brother is due in a few months. Older brother begins kindergarten in a few weeks. Your world is expanding. The insular world of brotherhood is about to be renovated for a whole new wing that includes another brother, as well as wider relational and cultural influence upon you all.
On the eve of this change, I want to make sure to remember for you how important your brotherhood has been. Continue reading
Words shared at Lone Oak First Baptist in celebration of my grandfather’s life.
My grandfather was one for whom we could never have enough time to enjoy. Even after 90 full years, there could never have been enough days with him for us to be satisfied, easily accepting his absence from us.
There could never have been enough time but there has always been enough love.