The life is known: baby brother, boy #3. The name is close to being known. The items have all been retrieved from storage. He moves and kicks, perhaps even practicing prenatal yoga. And yet now is still the waiting time. 13 more weeks. It is too early for him to burst forth, breathe this common air, and join this human pilgrimage . His presence may be growing more pronounced every day, but we are still living in the pregnant pause.
The life is known: a return to Louisville for the next chapter. The jobs are secured. Our home will return to our possession next summer. Our minds leap and jump and stretch. We imagine the ways our life will return to “normal” and the ways it will feel as an all new beginning. The year cannot be rushed nor the days counted down. The days prescribed have too much to teach us. We are living in the pregnant pause.
To the baby cradled in his mother’s arms,
Feel the warmth. Soak in the affection. Nurture your belonging in this beautiful world. Gaze in her eyes and receive her fierce devotion. This is your birthright. This moment is your true identity as beloved divine creation.
I dream for you a world where all others embrace you the same way your mother does now.
I dream for you a world where you may flourish in freedom of body, soul, and mind.
I dream for you a time and place where others may perceive your tender heart and your endless potential, just by the sight of you.
Even as your mother gazes upon you today, she is preparing for the talk. She will one day have to sit you down on the porch and speak to you about the world as it is. Her heart will twist and turn in her chest as she places a new identity over this first one – black male in America.
They had their ideas (a blanket fort, cupcakes, McDonalds) but I had my own. I desired the
simple profound things of life to celebrate this 32nd year of mine – time to be a parent without rushing, breakfast for lunch, hugs whenever I wanted them, hands to hold and be held, random “I love yous,” a movie in the theater, and a baseball game complete with sticky hands, short bursts of conversation, and wonder-eyed boys.
But more than even all those things, I spent my day seeking to live the day grounded and able to receive. Continue reading
Piercing the tapestry of all that has been of our lives for the past ten years, the winnowing fork does its work. The Divine Hands rake the winnowing fork back and forth, over and over, pulling out the threads of the tapestry that has been. Threads loosen. The tines of the fork carry out the threads that remain intact. The threads that have snagged and disintegrated fall to the pile of scraps. It is the baptism that Jesus promised – the kind that does not just immerse us but promises to eternally transform us.
Oh, it hurts. The tugs and the pulls.
The process of dismantling the tapestry that has been in order to prepare for the tapestry that will be has been one of the most difficult ones to endure. There have been times when I tried to cling to the tapestry that has been in order to protect it from the winnowing fork’s work. But each time, the Divine Hands waited in persistence until I realized my efforts were from fear’s taunting. Fear tries to keep intact that which should be dismantled. Each time, the Divine Hands paused the process to pass on enough trust so that I might move aside and the work might continue.
Change always seems to feel most palpable in January, right at the same time as weather draws me in and keeps me contained at home. It’s all part of a wider pattern. I see it as I look back, like the waves behind a boat reveal the way only after traveled. The first month of the year comes and it brings with it a time of rest amidst a season of restlessness.
Change feels most threatening in January.
But its mercy is powerful in equal measure.
A new year begins here. While boys sleep and the light rises outside, blue gray winter skies promise another year. Routine is adjusted with a later alarm but it is all the same. Cereal, eggs, coffee, quiet.
365 days stretch before me, all named by 2016. Some of them have already been claimed. Work trips. Wrapping up. Saying goodbye. Moving. Kindergarten. Beginning again. Birthdays. Anniversaries.
Many are left untouched, awaiting life to fill them and grant them their greatest desire – purpose.
In the morning, I ponder it all. The daily tasks await completion. Yesterday’s tasks were hurriedly accomplished, but not finished. The past lingers while the present demands. My mind struggles to hold it all in balance.
And yet the future continues to be there – untouched by my attempts to control and out of reach from the past’s long reach. Christmas is days away and I cannot yet touch it.
The people who have walked in darkness,
have seen a great light.
The bar across their shoulders,
You have broken.
The tools of war burn in the fire,
around which we dance and rejoice.
– Isaiah 9 Continue reading
It will come amidst the noise from the ride, our youngest yelling at the top of his lungs, “Stop sign!” (“top tign!” in 2.5 year old articulation). It is not worry that Mommy is missing it, but instead his pure joy over the sight of it. Bright red with its white border and block letters, when was the last time I cried out in joy at the invitation to STOP?
Amidst the Advent activities at home, the youngest could use a personal stop sign. He mourns each day that he cannot consume the Advent season in one fell swoop – opening every door on the calendar, eating every chocolate piece, lighting every candle, coloring in each day.
“Wait,” I tell him. “You must be patient. Advent is the season of waiting for God’s coming into the world. You cannot rush it.”
“Prayers of the people” that I wrote for last Sunday’s service – words I share so that I might remember them for the times I wait for companionship, direction, or no one.
Forever and ever.
The scripture’s haunting words have stuck with me this morning. Like a taunting whisper, they echo throughout my mind.
The house sits empty across the street. The one who loved it most is no more. Mr. John died this past week. A solitary man, he kept to himself. No car. No close family. He was independent, talkative, and kind.
They carried his body out yesterday. The package that sat on the front steps for the whole week should have given it away. The smell of death spilled into the street and I can’t quite shake it. The house his parents called home is all that remains. But the image of mother, father, and son reunited redeems even an empty house and lingering smells.
Forever and ever. Continue reading