Monday 4 April 2011
When he came into our world. . . we went to pray for a boy whose body lay smashed from a vehicle accident. We took the picture of him, all new and squirmy and cold-looking in the incubator. He was so eager for life, he breathed too soon, and swallowed his swimming pool. The newborn lived. The fourteen-year-old did not.
So the world was freshly broken, and newly grieving, when he came into it: this long-awaited child. Twice before his birth, her womb had swelled happy with life. And twice it had emptied too soon.
And now, this: a second child of promise, this second balm of mercy, this second gift of grace.
Once upon a time, three girls seemed enough, so they wrote a period at the end of their phrase, at the end of this phase.
But God edits life punctuation.
The period grew into the base of a question mark. God answered the question, and erased the scribble, even though smudges remain to remind of man’s need and God’s supply. He reworked the ending, and used a semi-colon: a new thought within the same sentence. He gave a boy, a little man to carry on the name, a man of light and good fortune.
And now this: a second son, a child to reach beyond our family ties, and touch the world. Just like his Daddy, and just like his Mum. Unlike any of us, yet like what we should be: dreamers, lovers, willing workers, happy learners.
His life, always intertwined with pain, was followed by two more grievings. Maybe that’s why he loves children so much. Always laced with joy’s triumph: his curiosity and bottomless vitality renew life, and make us think about the better things. Maybe that’s how he can love people so much. He loves better than a sibling. A brother loves from duty first, but he loves from choice, not assumption or obligation.
Our family didn’t want it to end with him . . . but it did, and yet, it hasn’t. He will go places none of us have ever been. He will reach beyond what we can grasp in our spheres. His life, hidden with Christ in God, is blooming tall and wide. I pray he stays hidden, and Christ bursts forth in glory.
And his life in Christ teaches me what lectures cannot: that life is a gift to be offered to God with thanks, and upraised, open hands.
And the sixteen years of his life are a gift. Happy birthday, baby brother, Avery!
“I desire that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.“ I Tim. 2:8