catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 7, Num 19 :: 2008.10.24 — 2008.11.07


When you grow up

You hurry us away; we vanish
As suddenly as the grass:
In the morning it shoots up and flourishes,
In the evening it wilts and dies.

Stephen Mitchell
From Psalm 190 in A Book of Psalms

There is a hollow space between my hips, as of yet filled only with possibility-the possibility of loss, but maybe also the possibility of immense joy, joy that makes my bones disappear and my flesh feel one with every good that ever was and is to come.  Pure air, embodied.

You are only an idea.  You are only a hope not yet realized.  A dream deferred and yet preserved in a dark, warm, living place-the center of imagination.

Did you know that you existed inside your grandmother’s womb?  Twice protected, you were, twice enclosed, like a very small gift inside a very small box inside a very large box-surprise!  There will be smiles when you see the light.  And when you do not, we will cry together for the clouded vision we all share.  How such big shadows hide in such small boxes, I cannot explain.

You’ve been with me from my very beginning.  Do you remember that feeling of surrender I had when I fell asleep in the grass in the back yard?  Do you remember the impulse that caused me to make up songs and sing them to myself while I sat on the toilet?  Do you remember the time I wanted to imitate adult emotion so I made myself cry while watching laugh-tracked re-runs of What’s Happening Now?  Yes, even at such a sub-zero age, you remember better than I, and maybe the best thing I will do is to help you not to forget too soon.

Here are some things I hope for you without reservation: that you will know love, first of all.  All kinds.  That you will know the mysterious power of sitting around a table to share a meal with other people, embedded in you by the rituals in our home and worship community. That there will be an unfettered path between your heart and your laughter.  That you will know solitude in company and company in solitude.

Here are some things I hope for you with resignation: that you will always sense your pain is shared.  That your suffering will compel you toward alleviating the suffering of others, righteous anger about injustice, identity with Christ.  That the darkness will not break your heart beyond healing this side of second birth.

I marvel at how my body will hold you inside some day, much bigger than you are now as just a speck of dust.  But I especially marvel at how my life will hold you outside of my body when you are alert with your own infinite possibilities, and yet so very fragile, as a blade of grass.

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