Thin Places and the People There

My life.  Some days.

I’ve been in some very thin places today.

I held a sweet baby, smaller than any of mine ever were, and was once again amazed at the miracle of life.  As I looked into his eyes, my soul was touched by something inexplicable, something so dear.  A love beyond understanding.

I stood and held on to a brother who watched his friend get hit by a car as he was crossing the street four days ago, and I was saddened by the frailty of life.

I listened as one of my sisterfriends said that the step that was most influential in her recovery was the first one–accepting that you have an addiction–and I was moved by the spirit and resiliency of a life choosing between the comfort of brokenness and the scariness of healing.

The sweet baby, the one who came early, seems so fragile and yet he is a living, breathing body of strength and a sign of hope.  He is growing and taking it all in, and all who are around love him more each day.

My friend Mac held back the tears as he told me about the accident.  He had no idea what was happening until it did.  He hasn’t slept since then, he says.  His friend camped with him a lot of nights, and now I think he feels even more alone.  He can’t get information about his friend–today as he choked up, Mac told me he didn’t even know if he was still alive.  We checked the obituaries and did not find him there.   So there’s that.  But Mac seemed resigned to the not knowing.  He has a lot that happens that he just has to accept in his life, being in the situation he’s in.  He’s used to being invisible.  But he would like to know how his friend is.  And I wish I could help him.  He became more visibly upset as he talked about the accident.  Finally he said, “I gotta go.” And he hugged me and told me that if nobody had told me that they loved me today, he did.  And he held on for an extra second.  Bless him.  He’s lost so much in life.  Things he could have changed, but even more he could not.

As my sisterfriend talked about that first step in recovery, she said, “You can say you have an addiction all day long, but until you accept that you do, you’re not going anywhere.  That’s a major step.”  As we talked some more, I asked her, “Is that something like accepting you aren’t in charge?”  She smiled her big, beautiful smile and all but winked.  She pointed at me and nodded.  “Yep.”

Life and death and the beauty and brokenness of life.  All in about a two-hour time span.  I felt shaken this afternoon and unsure of my steps and really quite small all of a sudden.  Those of you who know me might chuckle over that–but I said small, not short. Overwhelmed even. As I stood in my kitchen, about to make our supper, I felt as though I were Alice as she shrunk to a very tiny size.  (Didn’t she do that?  I haven’t watched it in ages–it really troubles me, that one.)  As I moved around with this new perspective, all I felt was humbled.

Humbled and touched beyond words that I was blessed to be a part of these three stories today.  It is no small thing to be invited into to someone else’s story.  And tonight I’m thankful for the precious people, these people I’ve grown to love and call my own, who let me in and shared their pain and heartache, strength, wisdom, and joy.

All tucked away in my heart for safekeeping.  A treasure for sure.

Love to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

like the first flower of spring–a sign of new life…..for all of us

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A new baby came into the world
Did you know?
Did the feel the shift in the universe
as those around made room in their hearts
just for him?
and soon the memory of their lives before him

will grow distant and hazy
His Mama worked so hard
laboring for hours
and days and weeks and months
planning
and eating right
and dreaming of this new life
as a new person herself–
As Mama
His grandmother worried
it’s what parents do best
praying for wisdom and guidance
and health and love
And all those worries
floated away at 11:35 p.m.

when she first saw his precious face
and new ones took their place

it’s a part of this loving another

This new life
brings Hope
Joy
Laughter
and a chance for redemption
To this weary world
Just as the first flowers of spring do after the dark, cold winter
He makes us think of new possibilities
for him and for the world
and reminds us of those we have ourselves
This new life has made a crack in the hardness in all of us
and the light is shining through
A new baby was born
Did you know?
They say this happens four times every second on this planet

Just

Wow
Our world is filled with so many chances for joy
if only we pay attention with our eyes and ears and heart
Oh little one, bless this day that you bring your special and one of a kind love to this world
You are already changing this place for the better

for that my soul leaps with happiness and laughter bubbles up from within
Go forth in peace to love and serve the world
one day
But for now rest, little one,
and let us comfort you and guide you and love you

and hold your little hand
There’ll be time for all that other later
For now you make it better with your sweet sighs and precious eyes

and smiles that come suddenly

like a sweet gift

and lift us up
Blessed be the little ones

And the ones who love them

Amen.

“…..where someone loved him best of all…..”

“Every baby deserves to be wanted and loved and anticipated with great joy.”

That’s a Maemae-ism right there.  My Mama believed that with her whole heart.

So it was with great joy that my oldest and I had the great honor and privilege and sheer fun of planning a celebration in anticipation of the arrival of our friend’s son and her mother’s, also our dear friend, grandson.

The fun started when the Mama-to-be wrote me, “My theme is ‘Where the Wild Things Are.'”

Ahh.  Yes, I know that book.  I took Children’s Literature.  I worked in a library all through high school.  I did storytimes for years for the local library system.  I have children of my own, for goodness’ sake.  I know this book.

Or did I?

I did what most in this day and age often do.  I googled the title and expected all kinds of links to fun resources–partyware, stuffed critters for decorations, balloons, babywear, blankets, baby bedding, and so on.

And what did I find?

Ummmm, not much.

No partyware.  No balloons or baby bedding.  No blankets.  The only babywear I found was on Etsy.  If it weren’t for Etsy and Pinterest, I would not have had any ideas of where to start at all.

But I did have those sites to peruse and read and plan from.  My thoughts started flowing and I picked up my love, the paintbrush, and had A BLAST.  I went to JoAnn’s and happened upon some “Where the Wild Things Are” fabric.  It was so exciting, planning and looking for “monstery” or “Max-like” things everywhere we went.  The littles even got excited about it.  It was Cooter when he was practically laying on the floor at Hobby Lobby who found the little wood owls that eventually were de-beaked and turned into Max’s buddy.

I had a great time painting and dreaming and putting colors together.  My kitchen table was covered all week, and I couldn’t have been happier.  I was constantly texting Aub pictures to ask her if this or that was okay.  But in the midst of it all, what I enjoyed the most were two things.

First, the connection with my Mama.  She loved babies.  And she loved pampering expectant and new Mamas.  How many times did she bring me a glass of tea as I sat nursing my little ones?  How many meals did she prepare for me?  After her first grandchild was born, she left the hospital just before daybreak (having been up all night waiting), and came back later that afternoon with all kinds of baked goodies for me to snack on–including her special teacakes.  There was no way she could have gotten any sleep.  That’s how she rolled.  I think she would have enjoyed hearing about the plans for this shower, and I think she would have offered her own ideas in the mix.  She was so creative and she LOVED children’s books; I know she would have had great ideas.

The second thing is the story itself.  Rediscovering this classic by Maurice Sendak.  What a fun story.  And what a beautiful story of a mother’s love.  And grace and forgiveness.  I have so many favorite lines from this story–which I incorporated in the decorations, but one that really touched my heart that I didn’t use is this:

“…..of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”

And there is this precious line, which is the truth that my heart cries out for the most–

“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”

Isn’t that something we all want with all of our hearts?  To be where someone loves us best of all?

*sniff*

Have I mentioned that I fell in love with this sweet story for the first time in the past two weeks?  I am so thankful for this young Mama whose heart led her to choose her own Mama’s favorite story from childhood as the theme for her baby boy’s room.  It has touched my heart and been a gift for me to experience it as though it were my first time reading it.  .

Tonight I am wishing for grace and redemption and forgiveness for this little boy to be born in a few weeks.  Most of all I wish for him to always find himself where someone loves him best of all.  It was at this shower that it hit me for the first time that when we attend a baby shower, it’s more than just going to a party and giving a gift.  At least it should be more.  It should be a covenant, a promise, we make to be there not just for the parties but also for the times when things are sad or the Mama is at her wits’ end from exhaustion or she’s sick and the baby’s sick and they just need someone to bring chicken soup and a pack of diapers in the next size up.  When the child is seven and is singing in the school play, we need to be there to celebrate with a call, a card, or our presence.  When the teenager is sassing his Mama, and she cries longing for those sleepless nights when he was a baby and so, so sweet, they’ll both need someone to hug them and say it’s all going to be okay.  It takes a village, folks.  At least it has for me in raising mine.  I think it’s more than an old African proverb.  I think it is the gospel truth.  We need each other on each step of this journey.

Tonight I am thankful for new babies and nearly grown babies and all of those in-between.  I am thankful for the village I have had, those who have already gone on up to The House and those still here.  I hope that Baby E’s life will be full to bustin’, overflowing with love, laughter, and grace.  And lots of good books too.  I keep my fingers crossed and good words said, lifting up his whole family–that they will join together and love each other through every single day.

And just for fun, I share with you some of the fun I had putting things together over the past couple of weeks.  If you saw me with the paint all over my hands and under my nails…..and even on my new magical glasses…..now you know why.

Love to all.  May you each find yourselves today where someone loves you best of all.

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

So happy this fabric all but jumped in my arms at the craft store

So happy this fabric all but jumped in my arms at the craft store

Max and his friend.  Thankful that Cooter found the monster critter at the craft store.

Max and his friend. Thankful that Cooter found the monster critter at the craft store.

The beautiful cake that my new talented baker friend created especially for the occasion.

The beautiful cake that my new talented baker friend created especially for the occasion.

All of it set up at the shower.  Pay no attention to the Aub photobombing there in the background.  :)

All of it set up at the shower. Pay no attention to the Aub photobombing there in the background. 🙂

The little corsage I put together at the last minute.

The little corsage I put together at the last minute.

Is there anything prettier than daffodils in a Mason jar?  Not today there's not.  My Aunt let us come gather some to bless the shower with.  And aren't they lovely?

Is there anything prettier than daffodils in a Mason jar? Not today there’s not. My Aunt let us come gather some to bless the shower with. And aren’t they lovely?