These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. Psalm 104:27-8
* * *
It was as though the room had tilted to one side, like a ship careening over the waves so that the twins and I, sliding, now sat clustered at one end of the table. They were “na,” done with their small lunch and broken bits of crackers and cheese were strewn across the table.
Isaiah stood, grinning, in the chair on my left and Levi was planted on the floor between us. He was done with climbing on the table (as per my request) and stood looking up at me, his mouth open and waiting like a baby bird.
They wanted, desperately, the soup I was eating. The same soup they rejected by the bowlful the night before, now made positively alluring by the fact that it was mine.
Nutrition is nutrition, so I scooped small bits – three kernels of corn, a few pearls of barley, a drop of broth – onto the end of my spoon and ladled it into their mouths that waited wide with exaggerated expectation.
They love to be fed in this way, they’ll eat almost anything if it comes from my plate, my spoon, my outstretched arm extended from my own smiling, expectant face and, truth be told, I love it too. It’s a game of pleasure, of need and fulfillment and we’re all pleased as punch as their mouths open and close to the rhythm of bites like happy clams opening and closing with the movement of the tide.
Then, eyes sparkling, Levi clamped his mouth down tight on the spoon, refusing to let go and smiling like the cat who swallowed the canary. Wrapping his small fingers around the neck of the spoon, he held on tight despite his smile as I tugged and wiggled to set it free.
Finally, exasperated, I asked, “Levi, do you want more?”
He nodded his head, a quick up and down that extended from his tightly pressed lips, raising and lowering the spoon that was wrapped in his hand and mine.
“Then you’re going to have to let go.”
Whether it was reason that spoke to him or the resolve in my voice, he let go immediately and made ready for more as I spooned and filled Isaiah’s waiting jaws.
I heard my words as I said them and, also, heard more than my own words.
“Do you want more? . . . Then you’re going to have to let go.”
* * *
God sits at the table in front of a wide and smiling bowl of soup, steaming.
Standing nearby, my mouth is open, waiting, expectant, delighted as each good thing passes down, happy. Happy to be eating, but more so, happy to be loved in this way, nurtured at the hand of God.
And I am learning to let go of the spoon, and even, if I have to, the soup, trusting it will come and go as all good things must; trusting in the joy of the moment, in the love of one whose hand stretches out, always, with good things, like the long arm of a mother extended from her own smiling, expectant face.