I am convinced that each child plays a special song upon their parents’ hearts. There is this quiet, steady rhythm; these transcendent chords. You catch these melodies in your heart, and each child has their own special notes. It is like learning to play a piece of Mozart entirely by ear. You have to spend a lot of time and energy listening, pondering, transcribing to capture the song. Perhaps it takes a lifetime to learn…
Yesterday, I glimpsed a piece of my son’s song to me. A line of it went from this ethereal whisper of music, to something concrete and etched in my heart.
I was pondering this season of Advent. This first week when we celebrate hope. The hope of Christ’s coming. The hope of the Emmanuel. God with us.
I was reading a post by Ann Voskamp regarding her recent viewing of the Dead Sea Scrolls at a museum– the quickening in her heart as she read the one on which had been etched the words of Isaiah (11:2):
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…”
I followed the article by watching her video on the meaning of the first Sunday of advent. She went on to describe our hope- these tiny little shoots that come springing to life from the dead stumps in our life.
The man Isaiah never saw his prophecy fulfilled, but he had hope that one day out of deadness would spring life.
As she spoke of stumps, of deadness, of impossible situations, I was transported back in time…
Back to the moment the doctor told me… there was no heartbeat. The image of a perfectly formed body… yet lifeless. Me. Sleeping and weeping away afternoons. Utter exhaustion. Utter grief. The weight of empty. Hopeless.
The memory of a doula’s story: of a mother driving chopsticks into soft earth until they hit hard wood. The last touch, the last connection. Because it is hard to put your baby in the ground and walk away. Bury hope.
And then I glanced up and there is this red head boy. Crawling. Exploring. He looks over his shoulder at me. His face is radiant with light. “Mamamamamama,” he babbles.
My heart catches.
Here it is. The shoot from my stump. The hope birthed out of the place of death.
My son- my hope baby. I could not know it then as I grieved, but he was coming. All hope was not lost. Hope of healing. Hope of joy. Hope of filling. Hope of spilling over. Hope of nestled baby in my arms.
I lived in advent then. Expectation of what might yet come. And then it came. And it is here. And part of the song he brings to me is hope. I recognize it now. (How didn’t I before…?)
In the words of my favorite hymn:
Come, Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home…