|INNER CHILD/pastel & paint on paper|
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My memory keeps tracing and focusing on the delicate, detailed ears; miniature, but perfect, finger nails; the compact child's crouch; the huge, fluidly expressive brown eyes; doll-like diaper; and pint-sized whimper. Most of all, my heart remembers being so touched as the feisty little one, untangled from his cords and unhappy to be out of the warmth of the isolette, snuggled so completely and naturally on his father's chest. Kangarooing, they call it.
Baby Phillip arrived 10 weeks ahead of schedule, perfectly caught by his attentive mother who, in a rather shocked moment, instinctively knew what to do. And the father, my friend and former co-worker, asked me to visit the neonatal intensive care unit. I think it had something to do with my Quaker background and my sense of ministry. I am still awed and honored.
What I experienced there was God's presence: pure and simple.
God's presence in the perfection of this tiny creature.
In the father's peaceful persistence in snuggling skin to skin and just being present.
In his gentle fumbling with the teeny diaper.
His wanting so eagerly to share his new family, have it acknowledged and blessed.
Also in the mother's acceptance and gratitude in a trying situation.
Especially her ability to adapt quickly and protect her child; she began pumping breast milk only hours after his birth.
Their joy, humor, love and invitation into their intimate family smacked of Spirit.
Most of all, I felt God's presence in the grace with which they have handled the unexpected. They don't find it particularly notable, doing what they have to do, they say. But I see something more; acceptance and surrender at work.
I really don't know why I was called here, although I have been vigilant in silent prayer and asked others to join me. I have received one of the best gifts ever: glimpsing God directly at work in the lives of others.
Baby Phillip, already, is a blessing.
• When have I been graced with observing God at work?
• Why is it, sometimes, easier to see in other's lives than our own?
• Why does the purity of an infant touch my heart so?
• How does it stir my inner child?
• What models of grace have I experienced recently?
"Oh, it's you. I thought I remembered your number.""Did you get my text?"
"No, we're on vacation and my phone's not working. I have an old one."
"Well, she had the baby."
"I didn't think it was due yet."
"It wasn't, he came early and we were wondering, after you get home and settled, if you could come to the hospital and be with us, him."
that conversation jogged me
very quickly out of myself and
into something bigger
the visit to the hospital
leave it to an innocent babe to deliver
so much love, recently stamped
with God's signature