“They crucified two rebels with him, one on his left and one on his right.” Matthew 27:38
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My 18 month-old boys saunter through the house with
swaggering bravado like two black-hats straight out of the lawless west. Working together they form a mafia-esque
crime-ring, a rebellious conspiracy against law and order and decency. Trafficking in black market goods pilfered
from the pile of floor-sweepings in the kitchen corner, they gather on the back
of the love seat, perched in the window to inspect and trade their haul.
They rip the heads off of their sister’s dolls and leave
graffiti on the living room walls and every time I kneel to zip Isaiah’s
coat, Levi circles around behind me and roots through my purse. A gifted pick-pocket, he snatches my wallet
and phone with such speed, stealth and precision that even I, the victim, have
When one is finally caught red-handed, and placed in
solitary (ie. the corner) the other comes quickly to the rescue, crouching down
beside him, chattering what I imagine are plans of daring-escape and revenge. Like true accomplices, though, they quickly
turn on each other when caught together at the scene of a crime – a mutually
enjoyed destruction turns all finger-pointing and tears when the fuzz shows up.
The other day I watched Levi running through the house with
what appeared to be a little shiv. It
sported a jagged, plastic tip and appeared capable of inflicting real harm, so
I quickly confiscated it, tossing it into the trash.
As we lay in bed at night my husband and I hear a “scritch,
scratch, scritch” on the bedroom wall near our heads. Levi’s crib sits just on the other side of
the wall so we sleep head-to-head, divided only by a few thin inches of plaster. We tell ourselves he’s rubbing the nubby
bottoms of his footed pajamas against the wall, but as I lay listening late into
the night, I think of that little shiv and wonder if he isn’t tunneling
his way to freedom one tiny scratch at a time. I
picture him tumbling through into our bed some night, his face full of surprise
and disappointment to find us there or, more likely, delighted.
These boys are outlaws, I tell you. Even so little, so cute, they have a rap sheet a mile-long. Looking at their round little faces, their hair
all downy-fluff, I’m reminded that we’re all thieves, all outlaws of one sort
or another, every last one of us. We’re
all Davids and Delilahs, Judases and Peters bent on greed and self-preservation. We’re all convicted, but
not condemned, chiseling our way toward freedom, one tiny crack at a time, until
at last we fall through the wall to Love.