Hands in the dark

***This is re-posted today in honor of our fourteenth wedding anniversary.  It’s one of my most treasured posts ever.  And the last words I wrote ring so true still today….***

“I’m wet.”  He whispers to his daddy in the wee hours of the morning.

I fall back asleep for the 3rd time in the same night.  Next thing I know he’s snuggled up in between us, dry with fresh PJ’s on.  I move pillows around to make room for him, a husband and my ever growing belly.

An hour later I think I’m dreaming and I hear the quietest voice ever…”Mama?”  Eyes peek open to find a little 2 year old body standing waiting for someone to make room for her as she does when she wakes up cold or upset or lonely in her big girl bed.  I scoot over, help her up and she nestles in beside me.  Soon I hear the soft sucking sound of her finding her precious thumb and she’s back asleep.

I can’t sleep.  Not just because my bed and body feel full.  I lay there in piles of flannel, warm blankets and warm skin and think about life.

I wonder why God would let my dear friend lose her baby two days ago when her heart so longs for one more child.  I wonder how my old client is doing who called this week and her whole life is totally unraveling.  I wonder how much more another precious friend can handle as her life brims with other people’s neediness and nearly no margin.  I wonder how it will feel opening gifts and enjoying great food without Grampy this year.  My heart hurts.

A chubby little boy hand reaches for mine in the dark and I hold it and he pulls it to his perfectly soft little face as he sleeps.  The baby inside must sense I’m not asleep and wakes up for a morning stretch and almost tickles my side as he or she moves around.

I ponder what still another friend spoke of when she called from Costco yesterday.  She’d been at the dentist last week, which she really, really doesn’t like-even more than most people don’t.  She’d discovered the wonder of gas during dental work and it was lovely.  As she drifted off, she thought of me having just read what I’d written about the holidays and hurting.

She wondered…What if part of why God gave us Christmas is to be sort of like gas to our hurting hearts?  That it might dampen the ache for just a time.  What if He knew life would hurt and because nobody is perfect that there would always be the presence of pain?  What if Christmas was meant to give us a chance to celebrate and to love and to delight…even when that seems hard to do?

The little girl voice next to my head cries out “Dadda, Dadda?” in distress.  I turn to her and she is still again and I realize she’s not even awake.  A big hand reaches across my belly and weaves his fingers into mine.  How he’s managed not to fall out of bed I don’t know.  But he’s there.  He silences the alarm that beckons him to the gym and opts for the full, warm bed.  Who could resist?

My hearts feels like Audrey’s sleepy voice, “Abba, Father…where are you?”  Why do all these things happen that are hard for so many people?  There is so much I don’t understand.

If nothing were ever hard and no one ever hurt, would I ever turn to God and seek to know Him in the ways I am coming to know Him?  Probably not.   Would we need this burst of joy in December as the year comes to an end to propel us forward into still another year?  Unlikely.  Would we even have needed Him to come?  Not really.

But we do.  And He did.

Emmanuel.  My all time favorite name of God.

God with us.  God with me and you and every other broken heart.  God with the sleepy babes in my bed and with the ones across the world who have no one to wake up to in the night.

The words “I love you” and a kiss land on my head.  He whispers to me as he leaves for work…”We need a bigger bed.”

And I love him more than yesterday.