"If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle."
~Vincent van Gogh~
It's kind of amazing what a week can hold. This time last week my little son was inside me, quietly waiting to enter the world. I was bursting at the seams, swollen, tired and had to lean all the way over to hug Josh.
I seemed to labor off and on for a few days but Tuesday it intensified. Slowly the waves of pain came harder as I tried to breathe through them focusing on helping my little one come into the world. Tears began to flow, through the rhythm of rising pains, feeling fully wrung out, clenching, and then the moments of relief between. I thought about how most everything that is sacred, and precious and of worth comes through some amount of pain or struggle. I whispered to Jesus to help me.
I thought about seeing my sons tiny face, this one whose home was my body, whose limbs I'd watched in amazement contorting my belly these last few months. And finally through tears and cries came life, wet and wriggling, sucking in his first breath of air. He was crying and strong and finally here.
I held him and called him by name and spoke love to him. Harper Pax entered the world, 9lbs and 2 oz, on April 19th at 6:00 pm and there is just joy.
He is now one amazing week old and I am in crazy love. I don't mind the lack of sleep so much, knowing that these days that he is tiny will fly. I drink in his tiny flailing hands like tiny stars, his wrinkly velvet skin, his sweet milk breath, the way he curls his body back to stretch when he's done nursing. The kids are giddy with excitement and it is such a good feeling seeing my whole little brood together. He is one very loved little man. Right now the days blend with the nights but there is magic in them.
This week has been rich and emotional and sacred. It was Easter week, a time when I remember the death of my Savior and more importantly His resurrection... it is everything my faith and life is based on. As I read to my kids from Matthew of how our gentle God remained silent when accused, surrendered himself to humiliation and death to make a way for us to come to Him, I thought about His mother as well.
This year as I looked at my beautiful new son, I thought of Mary's love for Jesus. How she stood before the the babe she nursed, the son she raised all those years,now hung bloodied on a cross. And how he spoke love to her even from the cross. With every year that passes I am more deeply aware of the magnitude of His love and of the power in his victory over death in the resurrection. Once again Journey Mama captured so much of how my heart was feeling as I meditated on Easter. Here are her words:
"I thought a lot about a meditation I guided in January. It was of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus. We dove in. It was an imagination meditation, so I encouraged the people in the circle to use all their senses, to find the scrubby bushes beside, to stand in the dust she was standing in. To feel her despair. He may have been the first person ever to see value in her, to love her. She was left unloved, without him. She had been out of her mind, before. A used-up, broken woman who talked to herself in the streets. You know the type, you've seen them. He healed her. She traveled with his followers. She stayed with Him to the end.
And she went to the tomb to prepare the body, but then her heart went crazy! He was gone. This was the absolute end of her. She only wanted to care for the broken, empty body. And it was gone.
There was a lot of running. Running to find the men, the disciples, running back to the tomb. (Cool air of the morning, sun rising in the hills.) The men saw that she was right, ran off again.
And from Mary, weeping. Despair. Anguish and the worst kind of loneliness.
I want to truly find that moment, capture it, live it, when he identified her and she knew him. After she mistook him for the gardener, all he said was her name, "Mary." And she knew him.
Anguish to beauty. She would never be unloved again.
Although I'm sure she always had to remind herself of that. And that is what I am doing this morning in meditation. The garden, the cool of the morning. The dust under her feet, the rocks sticking out of the earth. The earth under her knees, her despair, and then Him. His face. His radiance.
In my life on this earth I have been asked so many times, why I follow Jesus. Merely stating that I do is enough reason for people to tell me why I shouldn't. They tell me of the travesties that have been done by Christians, they tell me of historical inaccuracy, of relativism, of how mistaken I am. I have loads (heaps!) of thoughts about all these things. I can talk, I can discuss, and I do.
But there is only one real reason that I follow Jesus. It is because of him. Because of his radiance, his gentle beauty, the sweetness of His WHOLE Being. My Guru, my Master. "Rabboni!" Mary said. This moment is overlooked sometimes, but is one of the most important of his whole life on earth. No other god, no other teacher compares.
Because in his most triumphant moment, finally justified as the One who could destroy death, the first thing he did was comfort a girl, a broken ex-prostitute who nobody cared about. It was the first thing he did."
**When I wrote this on Tuesday, I didn't finish adding the pictures so I'm back today after the week took a difficult turn. Wednesday our neighborhood and many other areas in the Southeast were struck with a series of some of the most violent storms and tornadoes in the history of this area. We spent the day going in and out of the bathroom, with Harper's baby bed in the bathtub for shelter. Thankfully, we and the rest of my family are safe but the devastation has been heart-breaking. Many, including some very good friends have had damage and had their homes completely destroyed. And some in nearby areas have lost loved ones as well. We're thankful for the protection of the God who calls the winds and the rains into being and also sorrowed for those suffering losses.
**Oh, and be warned there may be a whole bunch of pics of my newest cutie around here for awhile.