Sunday, January 9, 2011
Why He came
"My son died."
That's what Mitzi said when I called her back. Just like that. "My son died."
Before I could pull into the parking lot I began to sob that deep, soul coughing sob that I've only done a couple of other times in my life. Which frightened my children. But my cell phone had died, so if I stepped outside the car, I would be unattached from the umbilical cord that connected it to the life of the cigarette lighter. The children began to cry too. We all cried, all of us questioning why, in the parking lot of the Kinkos.
In between sobs, I heard that the baby I had just cooed to days earlier through the layers of cotton and skin that separated me from him had quit kicking her. She went to the hospital on Sunday, and they confirmed it. He was gone. They cut open her womb and removed his body. He was five pounds one ounce. He was beautiful. He looked perfect. And he was gone.
Born still. Born into heaven. Born asleep.
She has grieved well, my friend. She grieved well from the very beginning. I've never felt so blessed to call another woman friend as I have felt blessed to watch her grieve. She's been prepared for this her entire life. Her God revealed Himself to her long before this and she knows Him. She knows that He is good even in this shadow of this very, very bad. She clings to Him desperately as she wades through this season.
But now the holidays are here, and he is not. He would be four months old, if all had gone as we thought it would. He'd be chubby. Maybe cutting a tooth. He'd be smiling a lot. He'd even be laughing. He'd be dressed in a little red Santa suit and Mitzi would be struggling over what to buy an infant for Christmas. He'd be a joy.
But he's not here. And the grief comes in waves. Tsunamis of sorrow. And the joy is hard to catch. And if it is caught, it only lasts a moment before it slips away again.
Everything reminds her of him. Everywhere she sees baby boys who belong to other mothers.
I stand in church and my husband points to the list of poinsettias. The one I paid for weeks ago says In memory of Christian Graham Wells. Memory. I bury my face in my husband's jacket and cry. Then I erase the smeared mascara with a clean white little boy sock because that's all I can find in my purse as the words of a Christmas carol I've known all my life sound completely new to me:
Mild he lays His glory by
born that we no more may die
born to raise us from the earth
born to give us second birth
THIS is why He came.
He came, as a baby, because babies die.
Babies typically smile at six weeks old. I assume that by the time Mary brought Jesus to the Temple, her Son had just redeemed His first several weeks of sleeplessness by finally smiling at His mother. And at that smile, Mary, who could not believe that she could love Him any more, immediately loved Him more.
Knowing the crippling power of this love myself, I have often wondered how Mary responded when she proudly presented her beautiful Son to Simeon, and he told her, And a sword will pierce your own soul too. I imagine the smile sliding off her face as her heart begins to pound and she questions why.
THIS is why he came.
He came as a Son, because sons die.
And, like Mary, Mitzi is well acquainted with the aches of a soul piercing.
But the Baby who smiled and walked and talked - who did all the things Christian did not do - He also grew into a Man who proclaimed that God was within reach, available to be grasped and clung to and for that, He was crucified. He died.
But after he was murdered and buried, this Son of Man rose again. And He goes to prepare a place for us - He had already prepared a nursery for Christian - He has also prepared a place for Mitzi and for me and for you where we will one day hold the living body of her baby son while we behold the living body of Mary's Son and then, then we will find joy in the complete understanding that THIS IS WHY HE CAME.
Hark, the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!