(I’m still seeking and finding my writing rhythm for this new year, so today I’m again sharing one from the archives. This post was written back in 2013 when my twins were just about 18 months old. The image above is of a plate my husband and the twins picked up for me at a (indoor!) yard sale over the weekend. I love the swirl of it and the image in the middle reminds me of a child in the womb.)
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I sat in the living room last week rocking my poor, sick, sleeping boy and watched while his twin brother explored a small wooden chair. He walked diligently to the book basket, chose a board book, then toddled quickly over to the chair. Placing the book on the chair, he lifted one little knee and, after maneuvering the book to make room, pulled himself up and turned, settling into a seated position with a look of great satisfaction.
There he sat, fuzzy-headed and plump, like a ripe peach, his short legs sticking out straight in front of him. Glancing at me with a look of triumph, he opened his book and “read” briefly and with great volume. Then, with a swift movement, he slipped himself off of the chair, and ran back to the books shelf where he made another reading selection.
Back to the chair he went, repeating the whole process again and again with a different book in hand each time, as though neither “Trucks” nor “Things That Go” could scratch his literary itch.
Stand, climb, turn and sit, his movements went. Then, repeat.
Sitting and standing are new pleasures for him. And the act of doing so with a book in hand in a little wooden chair just his size makes the act all the more pleasurable.
He repeats the movements – standing and sitting – over and over again and I imaging he’s swirling the feeling of it all around inside of his little body, memorizing each sensation until at last the feeling fades to ordinary, like so many other firsts tasted and mastered in his short eighteen months.
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Speaking of standing and sitting, a strange thing has happened several times now during my monthly retreat. At some point during a moment of silent stillness or quiet conversation, I find myself acutely aware of the reality that the chair I am sitting in is holding me.
Every time we sit, we are being held.
But most of us, most of the time, have stopped feeling it.
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Earlier this week, I sat in the pediatrician’s office with the same sick child whose limbs hung limp as he fought a raging fever. Between the bustle of nurse and doctor, in the midst of the bright light and noise, he slumped against me – his belly to mine, his heavy head pressed, un-moving against my chest.
My boy’s fine, blond hair was damp with sweat and his cheeks blazed red with heat. His eyes watered and breath came in short pants. Against my chest, his small mouth hung open and saliva pooled and overflowed.
He smelled like sweaty, sick, baby. Or maybe I smelled. Holding him there as the minutes passed, I lost sight of where he stopped and I began.
At one point he raised his flushed head, squinting his eyes in discomfort and I noticed that the whole front of me, two t-shirts thick, was soaked through with spit. Still, I pulled him back into me, curving my body like a hammock to hold him. I rocked and sang and he he hung on for dear life between the Dr.’s probing exam and tests for the flu and strep throat.
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I turned my body into a living, breathing home for my child in the Dr’s office that day. Later, I wondered if God doesn’t also do this for us.
Maybe God also curves, bending into a mighty ocean of a lap, a wide, swinging hammock of rest that holds us, not just when we’re aware of it, but all the time. Maybe we’re just so used to being held, we no longer feel it any more. Or maybe we believe we’re too big, too smelly with our own sickness, too Other, to rest in God.
But, this much I know is true: God holds us, my friends, even when we’ve lost the ability to feel it, even when we’ve outgrown the desire to be held. God waits like a hammock swinging in the breeze, like a mother’s lap that sways full of life and breath and song. May you find some small moment to climb up again today, to settle in and feel again the Love that holds you, always.
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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.
What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?
That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days. You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder. Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.
While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment. Thanks for being part of our community!