Where the light is

Oh, friends. 
More death. More violence. And our tender hearts can barely take it.  Anger, sadness, confusion, despair.  It’s all swirly and urgent and raw.

But I want to tell you a story.
Yesterday was Maisy's Baptism Day.  The anniversary of the moment eight years ago when she grabbed the pastor's lapel mic in both chubby hands and wailed into it with gusto while water was poured over her and the truth about her was declared: Beloved. Child of God. 

All day yesterday she wore this awareness like a gossamer garment - regal and peaceful, a secret happiness.  Beloved. Child of God.  Slipping from my car and marching into school, she kept this reality inside, curled around it to warm her throughout the day.

When she got home that afternoon, she found a gift dropped off by her godmother sometime during the day.  It was a tiny fairy garden in a clear, glass basket, complete with a smiling gnome, a red, spotted mushroom and a miniature black horse, with a string of colorful prayer flags stretched between living plants, all nestled on a bed of soft moss and beautifully polished rocks. The note on it said, Happy Baptism Day, Maisy!  

She stood silently gazing at it, and finally whispered, "Oh! I LOVE it."

Upstairs she went, and clearing her bedside table of all accumulated detritus, she made a special place in her room for her new fairy garden.

While I watched the news.  And freebased Facebook. And fretted and raged and grieved. Again. And in between, I made dinner and helped with homework. It was a busy night. Daddy was out of town. We ate pulled up to the counter on stools and standing around the kitchen. I kept checking in on the noise. I kept pressing on the bruise inside to feel the ache.

But then her voice broke through my stewing.  

“Mommy, what about my baptism candle?"

So we lit it.  

And then she asked, “What about the water?”

And she guided me to the little bowls and watched while I took one down and filled it.  Then she dipped in her finger and raised it to her forehead, and nodded for me to do the same, tracing the mark of our baptism, the cross on our foreheads which the ashes will make visible not too far away from now.  

“What about a prayer, Mommy?”  

And she stood in front of me, the glow of the candle falling on us, and placed both her hands in mine. With absolute peace and confidence, she raised her face toward me, closed her eyes, and waited.

Thank you, oh, thank you, God, for this precious child.  She belongs to you forever and ever.  Today we celebrate. Today we remember. No matter what, and always, we belong to your love. Amen.

Then she nodded, satisfied, turned and blew out her candle, and scampered off to another room.

I sat down at the kitchen counter, grabbed my phone and sent this text to my friend Jodi, 
There is light in this world. And it’s busting inside my chest right now and leaking out my eyeballs.

Here’s what I want to say: A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not, cannot, will not, ever, overcome it. Remember. 

So listen to the wisdom of my friend Meta, who said to us all last night, Don't spend too long in the rabbit hole tonight, friends. Call someone to say "I love you". Make weekend plans to be in community. Prepare brave kindness for a stranger tomorrow. Then go to bed. We still belong to each other for the sake of the good.

Yes. This.

What about you? Where are you seeing the light?


Anonymous said…
Oh Kara! This is so beautiful!
Ken R said…
Kara, thank you for this wonderful gift of light in the midst of the darkness that I feel. The light is faint, but the darkness has not snuffed it out. Thanks again for the spark--so much we have to learn from our children. Blessings

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