Thursday, April 17, 2008

Living Among the Dead

Fifteen more minutes—maybe twenty—and the sun will slowly dissolve behind the trees. My rigid shadow rests, quivering on top of the head stones lined up in an orderly row before me. Why do they have to be in perfect rows anyway? How ironic it is that our dead take such precedence over our living.

“HENSON” reads the evenly etched, white stone in front of me. The letters are spaced in perfection with “The Infant of Mr. and Mrs. Henson” below it. May to August of 1909. 3 months of a sweet morsel of heaven. 3 months of smiles saturated with tears. 3 months of “what if's.” 3 months of anguish-filled dark corners to hide the weeping. Or did he pass suddenly, with no warning? Did she walk in to find him in his crib, and cradling him in her arms, discover that he was already being cradled in Jesus' arms? Or did she hold his miniature hand through the long 3 months of sickness and pain? I wish the white-washed stone could whisper the truth to me—tell me the legacy of this tiny wonder. I make a feeble attempt at quieting my soul by looking away to a different stone. But there just a couple of feet away is a devastating copy. “The Infant of Mr. and Mrs. Henson.” This one is a girl; she lived longer than her brother had. December to June a couple of short years later. As if it wasn't enough for these bereaved parents to have one child taken from them, here they have two. It must have been an illness, I'm sure by now. My heart begins to slowly sink into my chest, and I remember that I am not alone today.

My son is skipping, running free just a few yards to my left. His innocent 2 year old mind has no idea that he is galloping over decorated boxes filled with dead bodies—his body that is fueled by life, that bleeds red when pierced. His thin blond hair playfully dances in the crisp breeze. His rouged cheeks are lit with a pure smile; there is no death in his mind. It simply does not exist. All things to him are glorious. He loves cars and trucks and bouncy balls and bath time and dancing and running and singing and snowballs and swing sets and grape juice and books and pickles and cookies...and Mommy and Daddy. These things furnish his world, and I am the centerpiece right now. And there is nothing and no one important enough for me to forfeit such a place of honor.

In my mind rings a truth I have been told since I was three years old: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son...” I stop and drink in the sight of my son running from stone to stone. He is talking to each stone, saying, “Hello,” and then, “Bye-bye.” He bends his play-scraped knees to lower his ear next to one stone. He is waiting for a reply, completely oblivious to the irony of this very moment.

I am examining my love for this little boy, and I shamefully recognize that I in error suppose I love him more than God—the very Creator of his soul—does. “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother's womb,” I hear from someplace deep inside. My heart that was sinking a few moments before is now steadily fluttering with awe and praise for this beautiful miracle. So this is why God touched my life with such an unspeakable honor of being called “Mommy”—so that I may, even in just a minuscule of a moment, experience a sampling of how agonizingly difficult it was for the Father to willfully commit his only Son to this earth, knowing what pain would befall Him. I begin walking toward my Only Son and, catching him, I reach for his hand. He shrieks with delight and wraps his tiny fingers around mine with a surprisingly strong grip. I taste the sweet dusk air and breathe out a prayer of thanks that God gave this ultimate sacrifice...so that I will never have to.

8 comments:

  1. What an amazing piece of work. Wow! You have truly blessed me today. Can't wait to read more.

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  2. You are an amazing writer Cara. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  3. Cara, that was awesome. Keep it up to, very inspiring and enlightening for me. Look forward to watching your blog even more now

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  4. Cara . . . I absolutely LOVED this! I could "see" it all, and "feel" it all in my heart and in my spirit!

    God has given you many gifts. :)

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  5. Cara I am impressed. I've always loved your writing. Now I have resolved to join the party, my new blog has come to life.

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  6. Cara I enjoyed your verbal picture and it reminded me of a song I recently heard by Kent Bottenfield "A Son of My Own". Both your words and this song touched my heart.

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  7. God did make the ultimate sacrifice, but that does not mean we too have many sacrifices ourselves. A friend of mine lost her infant daughter, she was diagnosed with some disease that took her life just a few short months after she was born. I remember praying for this little girl. I held a picture in my hand, her eyes were big and the brightest blue I have ever seen. Tubes were in her nose, and tears flowed from my eyes. The day she passed away her mother rocked her in a chair, holding her baby girl as her breath slowly faded away. Her mom sang and rocked her baby girl until her very last breath. How honored she must have felt, to be by her baby's side. I had never felt so sad and so blessed at the same time. It was such an amazing story of strength, and love. Your story just reminded me of that. God can get you through anything in your life.

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