Monday, January 04, 2010

Wish I understood the plans

We left the kids in Atlanta as part of their Christmas presents. Okay, fine, it was mine, too. Anyway, I finished one book (The Kite Runner – hated it with a passion. I couldn’t get over the way the narrator abused his friend) and am halfway through a second (Julia Child’s My Life in France). I have read for several hours uninterrupted, except by Sean taking me out to dinner. Now that’s an interruption I can handle.

I expected Sunday to be more of the same. Church, eat, read, nap, read, eat, read, bed. Instead I found myself in a little church full to the brim of people singing, It is Well with My Soul. I wasn’t singing. I couldn’t. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the tiny casket four rows ahead of me. But I didn’t want to look. I desperately tried to look anywhere but the little wooden box that contained the body of a baby, a baby who never got to sing or laugh or cry or nurse at her mother’s breast for even a moment.

It is well, with my soul,

Think... Man, what is with those Christmas wreaths? Why are those sticks poking out? I get putting pine cones on wreaths but gigantic sticks?

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Think, think, think. About anything but the pain the baby’s mother, my friend, is feeling.

Let's see... The once-live Christmas trees in the corners are shedding something awful. Boy, that’ll be a bear for whoever vacuums. Wonder why they only tied ribbons on the trees as decorations? We had tons of chrismons on the Christmas trees at church when I was growing up. Wonder if that church still uses them?

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal…

Do not sing. Singing this song equals instant tears. Think! Wow, that is some perfume the lady next to me is wearing. Seriously, honey, no need to bathe in the stuff.

Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

Just keep thinking... I am going to have to do a ton of laundry when the kids get home. What time is their flight? I need to look that up. So glad I have one more day until school really starts. Wonder how the kids are doing? My three wonderful, healthy children, so full of life! Unlike the baby in the box.

The father lifts the casket off the stand and carries his baby girl out. He’s followed by his beautiful wife and their three other children. And all that’s left in the front of the church is the stainless steel cart the casket rolled in on, draped with white linen, and lilies.

Oh, for crying out loud, think of anything but where you are and why you’re here!

But it’s no use. All I can think about is how gingerly the father lifted the casket and how sweetly the mom held the hands of her other children as they all followed behind.

And I can’t help but sing:

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul.