We were on one of our many walks this past week. It was cold. Colder than I realized. And though I had put a jacket and a snug hood over Maddie's little fuzzy head, I was still a little worried about the temperature. Other moms are much braver than I. I don't trust cold weather on my little ones very quickly. I push the stroller at a brisk pace.
Reagan had been silent most of the ride. I worry that she's cold, too. Too cold to talk, I think. The blanket across her lap does little to compensate for the thin jacket I threw hastily on her on our way out the door. She has such fair and sensitive skin. I make a mental note to put lotion on her red cheeks as soon as we get inside to avoid any chapped skin.
The sun is shining, but it does little to warm against the brisk wind. I push on.
And then, a block away from our house, I hear her say it. Quietly. So quietly I have to ask her to repeat it.
"He died. On the cross."
"Yes, he did, Reagan." I answer her. "But then what happened?" My walk slows to make time for what is one of the most important conversations we will ever have.
"I don't member, Mom."
"He rose again. He's alive." I speak words of life.
"Yes, he rose again!"
I realize she may not remember that moment for the rest of her life. I understand that this wasn't the "moment of conversion". But that the conversation happened, that I will stop anything I am doing no matter where I may be to have it, that I didn't miss it...it's one of the most beautiful moments I've ever shared with her.
I frequently become consumed with really unimportant worries. Really unimportant things like, what if Maddie isn't walking by her first birthday!? Ridiculous, I realize that. Reagan was walking at 10 months. Maddie will be 11 months in a few days. And all I could think that afternoon as I sat on my living room floor playing the part of human jungle gym was what I should be doing to help her learn to walk. More practice? More of that awkward parent-guided baby-gripping-my-thumbs waddle dance all Moms do? More walk-to-Daddy sessions? I go to the kitchen, start preheating the oven and walk back in the living room and watch her standing by the coffee table.
And it happens.
She didn't even realize she was doing it.
She really didn't understand my cheering and clapping.
The journey didn't seem to matter to her so much. She was where she had wanted to be. And for once she hadn't psyched herself out looking at what seemed like an impossible-to-her trial. She just went for it - as though she was made to do it. She was.
After a long journey, my Mom is back from her world travels. And as wonderful as it was for her to see Tom and Angie, I can hear the heartache in her voice and her words. This business of building the kingdom, its not always easy. There are times, many times, when it is hard. I've written about the struggle before.
One of my Mom's favorite pieces is a poem of sorts about sending her son because He sent His son. And as she celebrated Easter with Tom and Angie, it was a poignant reminder that the cross was a huge price to pay. Years and years of hearing the Easter story can sometimes numb you to the crucifixion. We tend to glaze over that part of the story to get to the good stuff - the resurrection, the promise, the joy, the victory. And we don't linger long enough in the shadow of the beam stretched one across another. The cross, the death, the sacrifice of His Son is beyond my love of words. My parents know what it is, in some small way, to send a son, a beloved son, for God's purposes. To say it is hard, well, that is not enough. And as we move away from Easter, let us never move away from the cross or the shadow. Only in seeing the darkness can we understand the light.