The other night was rough. In truth, every night is rough around here. Malachi falls asleep at about eight, but then he wakes up when I go to bed. And he climbs all over, he claws at my face, he whimpers pathetically. On that particularly sad night, I finally put him in the pack 'n play. Tears ensued. This picture doesn't show how he looked that night, because in order to take the picture, we were in the room with him. Let me tell you, he looked sad. Huge tears rolled down his face. Every now and then he would grow silent and gaze at me with pure yearning in his eyes. The yearning to be with me.
This picture shows him leaning out, trying to get closer to us.
Of course, we rescued him. And he promptly crawled into the kitchen and tore apart the recycling bag.
This is my life. I love having a baby and a teenager in the house. In fact, right now my days are as carefree as they've been in years. We have gone from a crowded house and a needy dog, to no dog and plenty of space. So even though I miss our big kids, my days are less frantic than they've ever been. I am blessed.
So when I am walking across the kitchen,
and my teething baby is clinging to my legs,
and when I want to sleep, and he wakes up every hour,
and when I cannot get work done (and work is good, right?)
because he wants me ALL THE TIME,
"I will remember this."
This morning we received sad news. A former football parent (if you've had kids in sports, you know how you bond with the other families) suddenly died at the age of fifty-eight.
Everything I knew about him was good.
He offered free chiropractic care to every player on his son's team, and he treated Caleb after an injury.
He will be terribly missed, which is the only epitaph that matters.
And I thought about how we cling to this world.
We say fifty-eight is too young, as if it was ours to decide the length of a life.
When Malachi is struggling in my arms, fighting sleep,
he sometimes reaches out and grabs a tiny strand of my hair.
The pain is fierce.
"No, no, baby," I say through gritted teeth.
"Don't give owies."
I think, today, that is the purpose of living.
Don't give owies.
The Hippocratic Oath says, "I will keep them from harm and injustice.'
Another version says, famously, "I will never do harm to anyone."
That about sums it up.
While we move through our ordinary day,
our friend is gone too soon (we say) from this earth,
and he has left sorrow behind.
Sometimes the veil seems thin.
The dark glass we see through glints and shimmers,
and heaven is suddenly close.
Face to face, that's what we yearn for.
All the longings of all time,
We hold on so tightly, but the loop is open.
It's the other end, the closed end gripping the chain, that leads to eternity.
And although we expect it all our lives,
the surprise, the shock of that loop coming loose
feels like gates slammed shut on Eden.
This is a day to pray, to be still.
Like every other, it's a day to give thanks.
And always, always, a day to do no harm.
(In memory of Dr. Richard Kragness)
Listen to one of my favorite hymns here.