my son how do i teach you, amongst hollyhocks and swing-sets, of death in a way that complements the life that fairly bursts from your tiny limbs, and how do i teach you of sadness that falls so often from mommy’s eyes because her heart is of the softest kind but it’s nothing to be frightened of, for soft makes way for seeds to grow?
when you, fresh from heaven’s cradle, see everything with eyes of wonder, and how to keep this wonder, to make it stretch like bread dough when the world keeps punching it down? to rise in the heat of the oven and emerge as food for a hungry world? to be served, willing, on a platter, so others might be fed, and how? when all i want is to hold you close and let no one near for fear of them wrecking you, for fear of your innocence being stolen but unless i let you go you’ll never know what it means to live, and in this, i teach you about death even
as your little finger tries to pet a fly, crushes its wings and you look at me, and laugh a little, because that’s how babies deal with shock… and i scoop the fly into my palm and say, it’s okay, and i say the word “dead” and you nod. and it’s easier than i thought. because death is a thing that falls daily in the garden, you helping me prune the brown from the green, making way for more beauty, and i tell you again, “dead” and you nod again, and there’s no laughter, now, just nodding, for it’s not shocking anymore.
i want death to be nothing more than a gateway to life. i want you not to fear, for fear is worse than death. fear is a cage, but death makes way for fullness, for celebration, for heaven.
so let’s sit here on the swing, my son, amongst the sun and the trees and let’s hold each other as often as we can and rise to the sky, fearless, for the love that binds life and death and all that’s in between
“none of us, in our culture of comfort, knows how to prepare ourselves for dying, but that’s what we should do every day. every single day, we die a thousand deaths… we go through the valley of the shadow of death every time we say no to our selfish desires. when we say yes to the grace of God, we are learning how to die.” (joni eareckson tada)
411. a week of catching up at home
412. a day of washing and folding little kasher’s clothes, and prepping his room for his arrival
413. an evening with friends learning a new card game and old laughter
414. planning camping trips
415. completing assignments knowing soon, vacation
416. encouragement from publisher and agent
417. a family that believes in communication
418. a husband who believes in me
419. a son who knows he’s loved