Keith has this weird habit of not wanting to sleep in his own room. He just hops into my bed every single night and sets up camp as if he belongs there. He’s ten years old, for goodness sake – you’d think he’d be sick of me by now. Anyway, the whole nighttime thing doesn’t really bother me, since it gives me a chance to read to him and talk a little before he falls asleep. Then, when he’s snoozing away, I walk him to his room and put him in his own bed and he never knows it. He’ll grow out of it eventually, and in the meantime, it’s not that big a deal.
Probably the real reason I don’t make it an issue is that I love to watch him while he sleeps. He has long curly eyelashes, full babyish lips, and the sweetest face. I love to brush my fingers across the soft warm skin of his arms and cheeks. So tender, so trusting, so incredibly precious to me. I remember all the years since he was born and can hardly believe how blessed I am to be his mother. How did you decide that I should have him, God? I know I have never deserved such a gift.
I am consumed with love for him, joyfully relishing every day (even when I get irritated with him), yet at times I am stricken with the terrible fear that he will die. The very thought of it fills me with such anguish that I can hardly bear it. God, I want to trust you to be with me if I ever have to face that kind of unspeakable loss. Every day, all over the world, children die and their parents have to go on alone. It happens to them, it could happen to me as well. These precious little lives, shimmering with radiance for a moment, are gone. God, oh God, we don’t understand why.
I know from what Jesus said once that he didn’t come to earth to heal everybody or raise everybody from the dead. Yeah, he did that some, but that’s not why he came. When he went back to heaven, there were still a heck of a lot of people walking around blind and deaf and disabled and sick and dying. He came to tell us about God, he came to show us the Father; he came to show us what it’s like to have that kind of life inside us. He said that we would have problems, but he promised to be with us. When I start trying to figure out all the stuff he said about prayer and miracles and why things happen or don’t happen, I get a little nuts because I don’t think anybody actually has a corner on what all he meant. I know for a fact that I don’t, but that will have to be ok. All I really need to do is just hang on to him and not let go.