20 August 2012


He's in my arms, and we call him "Teef!" now, because he once was "Toof!" and now he has another and he's working on at least two more. This scrambling, scrabbling, forever-moving piece of humanity, and right now he needs to be contained. He needs these mama-arms to tell him it's okay, the teeth will come in eventually and, meanwhile, I'm here, to hold and love and offer what comfort is possible when blunt enamel objects are trying to push through human flesh.

"It will get better," I whisper in the little ears, and it will, at least until the next set is ready to push its way through. And isn't that life? I wait and wait for a breath, for that place of peace and still waters, but instead I'm often fielding fly balls that feel like they're being shot at me by flailing machine gunners.

I think about the Psalms, how there's no fear in a place where there should be fear, and how the banqueting table is set when we should be on guard. Waiting for peace means we'll wait for a long time, means we'll always be waiting because this life isn't meant for peace, isn't a place of peace unless we find it amidst the chaos. If only we can learn to find it there . . .

So I sing to him, the old songs of faith, the ones he might not otherwise learn because we don't sing them so often in church now. And we walk and rock and look out the windows and I hope it helps, at least a little. The old words, the ones I think I've always known, they wrap around us and entwine themselves the way he entwines his fingers in my shirt and my hair, and I wonder how much they carry us without our knowing.

There's peace in the singing. He calms, though stays entwined, and I wonder if there's a way here, to find sure footing amongst the tumult and the forever-shifting. Words, rhythms, and a melody I know, and the way it entwines itself and me, the singer, to something larger than I know. We are an island of peace in the midst of his pain. It doesn't feel like the place for a feast and yet we have all we need, in this moment, and more than enough.

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