Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Six Letter Word

I was flipping bacon when he said it.
"I know what the "f" word is."
Now if I had stopped to think here, I would have realized that there was no need to panic. His six years have never witnessed anything stronger than Veggie Tales. But I stood there, fat dripping off the pig piece, everything suspended by the force of his statement. I opened my mouth, but he answered before my words were formed, "Forget. That's the "f" word."

Several weeks ago I began to dread Bible time with Rowan. We were reading through the Old Testament, reading about the ebb and flow of the Israelites. Every day he'd say, "Maybe today they'll obey God, Mommy." And every day he'd be disappointed that they forgot God's goodness once again.
The day that I read him that they demanded a king was the worst. He exploded, "They already have a king! God is their King!"
I had to explain that they wanted tangible; textile. They wanted to see a big strong man leading them into battle. They wanted their senses satisfied.
I continued reading until a round earnest face was inserted between my eyes and the Bible.
"I will never forget."
My heart swelled and I said, "I will help you remember."

But there was so much more that I couldn't say. He will forget. He will sin and flail and fall. I will help him up, but he will forget again. He will forget, just like me. Forget that he has a King, demand that his senses be satisfied. He will forget God's goodness to him. He will forget, just like me.

But this morning, he showed me what he remembered, that forget, is a bad word. That our vitality as Christians rests on remembering. We celebrate Easter, celebrate Christmas, to remember the sacrifice of our Lord, the goodness of our God.
"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?" Psalms 77:11-13
We pray, go to church, read the Bible, to remember.
"Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:8,9

Rowan will grow up. He will make choices every day for the rest of his life. His six years will stretch long and lithe and his soul will swell to manhood. He may or may not know how to floss properly when he leaves home. He may never master getting the sheets straight before he pulls up the comforter. But if he takes away from this home, the conviction to remember and the terrors of the "f" word, I'll be thankful.
And maybe someday, he will help others remember.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Running Wild

They look like ponies let out of the corral for the first time.
A pack of puppies, uninhibited by leash or fence.
They run the gauntlet of the yard. A field of grass, a place to play.
I watch them from the window. Partly because I love to watch them and partly because the container of mini peanut butter cups happens to be in the drawer next to the window.
I am watching my dreams running and laughing and occasionally tackling.

When we bought this house the big side yard was a maze of flowers and gardens. There were 17 different types of trees just in that side area. It was very beautiful, but somehow, it wasn't quite what I had in mind. Dave asked me what we should do with it and I said, "I want a big green field where little bodies can run fast and far. I want soccer games and football matches and a dog to play fetch with."

We only had two little bodies at the time and one of them couldn't even walk, much less run yet, but I had a dream.
And tonight I saw it. I heard it. The laughter and screams, the running wild in the spring sun. And I remembered that this is my job, to dream big dreams for my children, to pray big prayers, to do the work it takes to make those dreams a possibility.
As they fell in a heap like the flopsy bunnies, my hand froze in the package of peanut butter cups and I realized that this fulfillment is only a shadow of the ones to come. That no matter how busy life gets the root of it all is bound up in the heart that dreams.

I run wild with my dreams for them.
I whisper them over the tired bodies that fall into bed tonight.
"May he seek you and find you when he seeks you with all his heart..."
"May she know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge ...."
"May You perfect the good work You have begun in this child..."
"That he may be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding..."
"That she will know Christ and the power of His resurrection..."

My prayers whispered over their sleepy heads.
Words with a vision that blur into their slumber and lodge tightly in their hearts.
Words that run wild through their dreams.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Bats do it.
They send out sound and listen to the echoes as they bounce off objects. It's how they can fly in the dark and not slam into a house or a tree. The echoes tell them things.
People do it too.
They just don't usually realize what they're doing.
They send out a cry, emit a sound, and they want to see what echoes back to them out of the stillness.
Today at chapel I held Rose in my arms during worship. Her face looked into mine and I could hear every note I hit loudly because they smacked into her and echoed back to me. The echo told me that there was a person very close.
In all honesty, we talk, we write, to know we're not alone.
Blogging is a type of echolocation. Yelling is a type of echolocation. Laughing. Crying. We make noise because we want to hear a response. We want to know that our sounds, our joy and pain, are not vibrating into some vast nothingness. We want an echo to help us navigate.
In general, I'm a bat with echolocation issues. I send out my sounds but disregard the echoes and usually hit a tree or a house as a result.
We spent last week at the cottage.

We woke up to a world white and frozen. Snow came down intermittently for 3 days. Chubby flakes, bitty biting pellets, perfectly symmetrical miracles descended.
And in the hush of snow I heard it. The echoes.
And the echoes told me what I knew this morning in chapel. There is someone very close. I cry out to God and He echoes His response back to me through His Word, His people, His Spirit. My cries never vibrate into nothingness, He is the close face that they all smack into. And when I stop and wait, silent as snow, I realize how close He really is.
And He helps me to navigate this dark world.
I miss meshing with trees when I listen.


Not quite after, but getting there...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Growing into Grief

This week my dad would have been 73.
I would have made him a cake. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
He would have opened his presents with zeal because he loved presents.
And at some point during the party, he would have said something that made me laugh until I cried. He always did.
On Friday, I saw a friend who's dad has cancer. I asked her how she is handling it.
Her eyes filled with tears and she shook her head and said, "You know."
My eyes filled in response and I nodded and walked away.
Yes, I know.
I know how it feels to watch someone you love slip away from you. I know how it feels to know that there are unresolved issues that will never be resolved on this earth. I know how it feels to desperately want to turn back time and circumstances and be unable to.
Yes, I know.
Somewhere in these six years I've come to terms with what was.
Grief works it's way into your very marrow. Into the core of who you are. It becomes part of your choices and voice and personality. I grow into my grief and my grief grows into me.
Yes, I know.
I know that I'm grieving but he's not. That he's with Jesus, happy and whole. I miss a shadow of what really is. My dad is so much more now than he ever was on earth. All the insecurities that undermined his parenting are annihilated. He is a perfect dad.
Yes, I know.
And someday, I will know even more fully than I do now.
And someday, I won't know at all, because I'll be grieving no longer.
I won't be grieving because I'll be there.
I'll be eating carrot cake with my dad, laughing so hard,
I'll be crying.


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