A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which
Children are mileposts in the stream of time.
(Yes, really, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Compare your past and your present and your future with me.)
When I walked alone
(Though not by myself – thank God!)
Time meandered along
Days blurred one into another
As I lived for my (and His) pleasure.
When I married
My pleasure took on new dimensions
Sometimes soaring, sometimes falling,
As the two of us began the beautiful
and awkward act of becoming one.
(Becoming one forced encrusted layers off of me:
Selfishness, willfulness, independence –
All things that I thought myself to be rid of –
These things did rise to the surface
Like trash when the tide slunk silently away.)
Then, children –
The loss of our first sank deep claws in my heart –
The fruit tossed before its time.
Despair rode me wild like an unbroken horse
Twin spurs of fear gouged me again and again
When the monthly reminders of my failure as a woman
Announced my lack with a bloody regularity.
Then Joy was born.
Conceived in Love and carried ‘neath my heart
Through fierce battles of Faith versus Fear.
(Many a prayer was said and sung,
For this woman wages war through worship.)
Before we knew her, held her, caressed her,
Joy was earmarked for her middle name —
For we knew that she would be a harbinger,
A herald, a living proclamation,
“The Joy of the Lord is my strength!”
Her escape from my womb was traumatic,
But the sight of her, the smell of her, and
At last, the touch of her made everything else
A vision she was — and a propellant.
For sure, Father!
Screw up your face and your courage and remember!)
Time, that once gentle river that I had mostly mastered,
(Foolish woman I am, but my day planner bears witness!)
Began to distort in the most curious of ways:
It simultaneously sped up
Its rhythm ceased to be such
And turbulence engulfed my perfectionist heart.
Before I could get my bearings
and know my way around this nursing babe,
she nursed no longer,
had a birthday,
and then a sister.
Where did my baby go?
(Pictures tell me she existed,
but my memory –
Lo, my memory sees but through a glass darkly
and thick, gray fog blankets all.
But for the digital imagery tucked away —
It could have all been a whiff of imagination.)
Now, two – an infant and a toddler and
The law of entropy kicked in to overdrive.
Long days, sometimes longer nights –
Months pass by even as time stands still.
A brother joins us and another sister —
And, my Joy is now eight.
I stand in the center –
A merry go ’round.
They (these children mine!) spin, dance, cavort
So fast and yet (!)
Sometimes not fast enough.
(How I long to be through with diapers!)
So fast and,
“Won’t you please slow down?”
“I can’t, Mama,” she sings and dances and grows,
Up, up, and away.
Her time with me, sliding away through my fingers —
If only I could grasp it!
So, I tell you, Mother,
And I urge you, Father,
Look into those eyes.
Look down deep —
See the heart beating within.
A few short years
(“Such long years!” my selfish soul cries)
to teach and impress upon and to lovingly instruct and correct,
Such a short time to lay down your life
For those who come after –
Those grandchildren that you would not sentence to the fate of Hezekiah’s.
Mother, do the hard work now
So the harvest may come in —
Father, acknowledge that you matter.
Model what you want them to be —
that when young ones are grown
With young of their own,
When you have joined in with
That great cloud of witnesses,
You, too, can rejoice with Paul,
“I did not run my race for nothing!”
Yes, children are mileposts
In the non-stationary stream of time.
We rise, we fall, and
More come after – Selah.
Let it not be for naught.
Follow me, young ones,
Follow me as I follow Christ!