I promised Little Drummer Boy something the other night that I really can’t promise him. At least not honestly. I promised that Mama would never let anyone take him from me. Who knows exactly where these thoughts come from? Since I usually can’t trace my own thoughts with complete accuracy, those of my 4 year old are even more elusive. But, this train started with a discussion of how he and his favorite lamb had been separated while we were in our living room reading bedtime stories.
LDB: I don’t like it when my lamb is separated from me.
Mama: I understand. I don’t ever like it when you and Squiggle and Baby Girl are separated from me. I always want you with me.
LDB: Well, we would be separated if a policeman came and took me away. [puzzled about where that came from]
Mama: Sweetie, a policeman will never come and take you from Mommy. You belong with Mommy.
LDB: If someone took me away from you, would you tell them “no?”
Mama: Yes, sweetie. Mama would never let anyone take you from me.
LDB: Not even a mean man. [puzzled about that too]
Mama: No, darlin.’ Nobody is going to take you away from me.
LDB: Well, good. Because I want to be with you.
Mama: You will be, because you belong with Mommy.
LDB: Because I’m yours.
Mama: That’s right. You’re mine. God gave you–and Squiggle and Baby Girl–to Mommy and Daddy. Noone will take you away from me.
There it is. “Noone will take you away from me.” That’s the promise I can’t keep. I’m sometimes haunted by the fact that there is always the possibility that something or someone–some circumstance–could rob me of seeing and knowing and experiencing his blessedness.
I could write this post 6000 times and never feel I’ve actually said it. I can never adequately express just how much the existence of this one human being has changed my life forever. It’s Little Drummer Boy only by virtue of the fact that I was a half a miniscule more accustomed to being turned inside out with Bug and Baby Girl, since they don’t bear the burden of being first. It’s true. Having children rocked my world.
Listening to Little Drummer Boy, it’s amazing to me how even being so brief in this world, he can recognize and sense a place of belonging–and that he wants it. The concern of separation from that place somehow made it’s way into his thoughts from who knows where. And, I must acknowledge that it makes its way into mine more often that I care to admit. When I look into their eyes, I realize without a hint of doubt that all three of my gifts scare me to death. And, in seeing them, I realize the strength of the white-knuckle grip I’ve had on my soul since their birth–frozen in fear that I would have to see them suffer and thus witness my own heart shredded beyond repair.
There. I said it. Out loud (virtually, speaking).
Though I’m not one to give in to fear, in the unflenching grip of the last four years, I’ve also realized that sometimes God scares me to death too. His power is too great to comprehend, and his giving and taking is too complex to predict. I’ve always had a strong sense of confidence in God’s purpose and plans, an ability to believe and trust His actions. But, in the last years of watching the most precious beings I’ve known walk around before me, I have found myself shying away from Him. Afraid that He might take them from me, as if they were mine to lose. I’ve gently shielded my heart from Him, as if that were possible. In that doomed shielding, I’ve resisted the rest found in knowing Him more intimately each day, the joy of yielding to the insistence of His presence. And, though I know in my mind that His love is pure and wise and good, releasing my soul to His full molding has been difficult.
With my Baby Girl now a one-year-old and the prospect of Little Drummer Boy going to “big school” a year from now, the last few weeks have been emotional. I’m realizing more and more each day the brevity of that time when they are so dependent on me. And with the shift to their own independence comes an ever-increasing confrontation with things beyond my control, things outside the walls forming my comfort level. I’ve been slowly, but surely, allowing my spirit to catch up with all the changes, the joys, and yes, the fears of the last four years. Little by little, I’m letting go of the strangle hold I’ve had on my own ability to take an unencumbered deep breath, and relinquishing my spirit again to the wooing of my Creator. And my children’s Creator.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” (isaiah 43:1)
I’m learning again that those words, “you’re mine” are the solution, not the source of fear. Just as saying “you’re mine” to Little Drummer Boy carries with it the full weight of everything I have to give, everything I am willing to give up, everything I would move, everything I would hold fast in order to ensure his abundance; so it is with God. In hearing the words “you’re Mine,” I can also hear “they’re Mine.” I am released to the blessed rest of His kind intention, the rest of His unfailing, unending and ever-active love.
In my fear I’ve come full circle, realizing that the only hope I have is to throw myself fully upon His love and mercy at each hour. And to throw myself fully into loving my gifts and experiencing them at every stage. To live each day, hour and moment without wishing I had.