Tonight I held a human being that was a whopping one hour old. ONE. HOUR. That’s how long it takes CVS to print my pictures for heaven’s sake. It was surreal. This wasn’t my first time holding a newborn but every time is like a brand-new familiar awe. I felt his warm body, wriggling in the hospital blanket, wearing his little hospital beanie, eyes opening and shutting, mouth searching for some sustenance, heart beating. It’s remarkable. There are no words to describe it. We were all like that once. All of us. The most macho of men and the most powerful of women — we all started with our belly button awkwardly dangling with that little thingamabob attached (I’m a psych major, guys. Medicine ain’t my thing), we all cried with pink gums smacking and brows furrowing and all the agony that comes with being one hour old.
There’s something about holding a newborn baby that, for me, equalizes us. All of us. No matter our race or neighborhood or upbringing or socioeconomic status or whatever else we throw at each other to give or take away value. We all start here.
God met us here. With pink smacking gums, feather-soft skin, and a tiny ribcage encircling a tiny heartbeat. GOD. He became a man. A little baby boy. Just so he could grow up, be hated, misunderstood and murdered. Why? Because His heart’s desire is for every baby born to grow up, know Him, and spend forever with Him. All of us. And in His great love for us, in His delightful creativity and sovereignty, He made us all different, thinking, reasoning human beings. He made it so that we would come to know Him. That we would choose Him, that we would find delight in all the millions of ways He makes Himself known to us. Can you imagine? God delights in our discovery of Him! He is the only one who puts souls together. In all of us. He fits eternity into 7lbs of flesh and bone and He sits back and watches that little person find it. Find Him.
On my way home from the hospital I started to cry. So much ugly crying. I was inhaling sharply and rolling my eyes at myself as I was crying (To which my contacts said, “WHOA. Pick an angle, girl. We are SWIMMING IN HERE.”). How ridiculous that I should cry after tonight! I just held a miracle! I should be shouting to the rooftops! Singing praises and Hallelujah and all that, right? But I think sometimes the best parts of life should knock us onto our knees just like the terrible parts. When we catch a glimpse of a God who I can’t even begin to describe to you. He gives such gifts! Such sweet, warm, new and perfect gifts! What the HECK did we ever do to deserve that?
And then my happy tears mingled with my sad tears because that little boy will grow up far away from me. His mom and dad and big brother who have all taken up residence in my and John’s life story, are going exactly where God has asked them to go. In just a few short weeks they will be thousands of miles away. Like so many other friends and family
And my tears became sobs as my heart became sick with joy and sorrow. I thought of my nieces and nephew that I didn’t get to hold when they were hours old. I thought of friends that I love who are hurting deeply and who I wish I could just hug and cry with. But then I thought, “What a joy to ache for people. What a privilege it is to form relationships that grab a hold of your heartstrings and refuse to let go, no matter the years or miles between. As much as I hate crying all over my steering wheel right now, it’s also really healing. It’s washing away the grit of a normal ho-hum Monday and leaving my heart open and raw to glory in miraculous things. Like babies. and God. And God coming to us as a baby.”
I hope you have moments like this. Whatever it is. Whatever it is that moves you towards ugly cries and belly laughs and somber silence. He is in all of those things. I hope it leaves you speechless and I hope you can’t stop talking about it with other people. That’s why I wrote this. Because I felt like we needed a reminder about how good, present, holy, and kind our God is to us. To all of us.