21 August 2009

Mysterious Ways

When I catch myself staring at Lucas (which happens a lot), I can't help, at times, but feel a deep sadness come over me. Don't get me wrong, I love every moment of fatherhood. Especially the ones where I'm exhausted, he's crying and then, all of a sudden, he stops, pauses, and smiles at me. Yes, he's now old enough that I can say, with full biological confidence, he's smiling (it's not just 'gas' anymore).

The sadness comes from knowing how temporary (frail, the poet Shelley would write) life is. Lucas will be 18 before I can say "Gerber baby food." I'm going to wake up one morning and realize I am not nearly as young as I perceive myself to be.


Some day, maybe later than sooner, Lucas is going to ask me about the mystery of the Spirit. I'm going to do three things. At least, today this is what I'd say.

First, I'd talk about Jesus's conversation with Nicodemus in John's gospel. What an interesting conversation. Of course, I'll save him all the academic interesting tidbits like the difference between Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic (I'm guessing he won't be interested in that in a long time). I also won't bring up the literary point about when Jesus stops talking and John (the writer) picks up. After all, John's Gospel is a series of conversations. Here's what I'll say: Lucas, do the trees move the wind or does the wind move the trees ("The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, buy you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going")?

If that doesn't satisfy, I'll talk to him about U2's song "Mysterious Ways." If you are not familiar with this song, which I'll assume most of you are, you can click here to read the fascinating lyrics. There are three ways this song is interpreted by U2 experts like my friend Greg. 1) This is a song about a boy falling in love with a girl (and the mystery that lies within this roller coaster ride) 2) An explicit ballad written to describe the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus follower OR 3) A midrashic commentary on the life and death of John the Baptist. Which one is right? The answer is probably "yes."

If Lucas is still awake at this point, I'll tell him what I should have told him all along.

When your mother and I were newly married, your mother had a dream. She dreamed that she was in a huge building. While walking near the top of this large sky-scraper, an enormous wall of water came crashing over the top of the building. Immediately your mom awoke and told me, in an urgent voice, of the dream.

The next morning I woke up to the news on CNN that a large tsunami had devastated parts of Asia, leaving thousands of people dead, many more without food, water or shelter. One of the worst tragedies of my lifetime. I'm guessing hundreds of people had similar dreams that night.

When you were just a baby, your mom had a dream that she was pregnant with a girl (which was not true). The nurse in this little dream was Kara's friend Sara Whitten. Random. Totally random. She does not work in the medical profession.

The day following the dream, Kara learned that Sara Whitten had herself just learned of her unexpected pregnancy (in real life).

There are other stories. Stories for other days.

The wind moves the trees.
Talk about the things you can't explain.
You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it's going.


Editor Cassandra said...

I think I know how you feel about the sadness of watching Lucas (who is super adorable in Kara's rolling-over video by the way). Right about the time Lucas was born, our dog had puppies and one of them was mine from the moment I saw her. She'll be 16 weeks this Sunday. I love taking her outside, throwing sticks for her to retrieve, cuddling together on the couch during a movie, hearing her jarring pitter-patter as she climbs the stairs to my room, the tinkling of her collar tags when she comes to me after I call her, days like today when she's big enough to graduate to an "adult" collar, and even when I have to scold her for chewing the couch instead of her chewies, and all those "mistakes" in the house because I know that she's going to grow up to be a wonderfully behaved dog because i've taught her right from wrong.

There are some moments, however, when she looks up at me first thing in the morning when she wants to go out and I know that one day she's not going to be there looking up at me. There might be days when I have to carry her down the stairs, and days when she can't wait even that long and won't have control over herself. There might be days when I have to hand feed her again like I did as a tiny puppy, days when she won't be strong enough to lift her head and drink water. I'm dreading those days. Just thinking about losing Mollie and i'm reduced to tears and longing for her to be beside me (even though I can hear her at the bottom of the steps playing with her squeaky toy and I know she's alright.)

The great thing about you and lucas is that, Lord willing, you won't have to see him decline in health, and can expect him to outlive you by many years. You'll have that assurance that you've raised him to be the best man that he can be and he will uphold the name of Graves after you are gone.

With Mollie, I can't expect her to live much past 15 years. There will be a day when she won't be there to wag her tail at me when I come home. This saddens me beyond anything I have ever felt. One day, Mollie will die. But the thing is, that when she does, i'll be right there beside her, calling her my Pup-O, as she begins her next great adventure, knowing that i've given her the best life that I possibly could.

I will have lived another third of my life by then but I hope that in providing for Mollie that I will have become a better and more compassionate person because of her. That's the best I can hope for.

Donna said...

I think that the mystery is what makes it new every morning...