I knew first thing what my blog would be on today. After all, my first words to my husband this morning were that 14 years ago today our second daughter was born. Our daughter is a child to be proud of. She is very smart and talented, and is growing into a lovely young women.
While not a morning person, Chibi had to get up early for her first viola recital - a judged event. She had been nervous and had cried in rehersal - a very rare event for my Stoic One. She hadn't had the music long and it had to be memorized and she is shy. When she stepped up on stage today my heart swelled in my chest. She made a good effort at smiling - probably convincing those who didn't know her well (actually she could have fooled me). She was the picture of confidence and poise. She played her pieces beautifully to the end.
We shopped at the store for birthday dinner: crab (thankfully on sale) salad and Hubby made coconut cream pie from scratch using a recipe in an ancient cookbook and topped with fresh whipping cream.
And we went for a hike.
We stomped through red sand and scrambled along rock ledges poking our noses into recesses and caves. The dogs were estatic, running back and forth between us. The girls went off sometimes lost in their talk, sometimes each girl walking with one parent or the other for conversation and pointing out cool stuff. We followed deer trails and dry creek beds, and wound our way down into the valley floor and up along a ridge. We had taken the GPS looking for a geo cache but found we were on the wrong side of a larger canyon without a road. That's OK, the hike was exhillerating and so nice after such a cold winter.
As we were walking back to the car my cell phone rang. This wasn't the first call one of had gotten but mine was more likely to be work. I was tempted not to answer, not to interrupt this time with family, but I did. The call from a parishioner: the 14 year old child of her fiance, a child baptized in our church, a student in the only Jr. High in town was in the hospital - flown to the Children's Hospital in the city 5 hours away, and is brain dead. I say that in the present tense they are waiting this night for the blood alcohol level to go down to remove life support and donate what organs they can. It had all happened with the stupid antics of early teens, barely teens, acting out in the middle of the night. So abrupt, so absolute are the consequenses. So suddenly things will never be the same for this family.
The sun was suddenly hot as I listened to the family on the other end of the line. I was still catching my breath from the hike, when my breath caught me and seemed to squeeze me around the middle. My knees were no longer weak from exersion alone. The sky was so clear and blue as I looked heavenward. The sound of my family calling to me "come on, you can talk on the phone in the car...." sounded sureal. My brain realing between pastoral and parental.
I havn't been doing this long, but I don't suppose knowing what to do it is something that many people take to naturally. What comes natural is hugging my 14 year old, giving thanks for her birth and her life and asking God for protection for all children. What comes naturally is crying for this child, praying for all involved. We sometimes get them for such a short time, they don't all make that transition between the shelter of the family to emergence into the world. This is why we raise them up to know God so that when they meet again - hopefully much later, they won't be strangers.
I started the prayer tree at church, asking this community to pray for this family in this aweful liminal time, to accompany this child with prayer out of this life and into the next. The bulletins printed last Thurday are for Shepherding Sunday. The 23rd Psalm is printed there. I think I'll get up at dawn and rewrite my sermon though.
I've come back to edit while house is shutting down for the night. I checked my email and found a note from a friend whose wife lost a pregnancy while he was in an interview. It is important that life is beautiful and that God is good, that the sun shines and that spring comes because the closeness of the heartache that isn't my own leaves me quaking.