“And when we heard that baby cry, there was such joy in that delivery room. Everyone was crying. He was the most prayed for baby.”
The woman sitting in the wing-back chair was leaning forward and telling me that story of her grandson’s birth.
Her son, the father of the prayed for baby, had waited a very long time to become a dad. It had not been an easy journey. His mother recounted the number of years her son had longed for a child. There were times when it seemed he would never get that chance. He and his wife had one failed attempt after another.
Then the grandmother pulled out her cell phone and showed me a recent photo of the baby boy born last New Year’s eve. He was sitting up, smiling brightly, blue eyes glistening, a shimmer of red in his gold hair, a complimentary accent to the red bow-tie and blue sweater vest he wore.
She so proud of her own son, now 46, so proud of his own baby boy.
I wept as she told me that story.
Wept in part because I have watched my own child struggle to have a child. I know the fear of longing that goes into the joy of hoping.
Wept in part because I look forward to being in that delivery room where the prayed for child is herald into this world of God’s own creation.
Wept in part because two of my daughters are pregnant and there is no more symbolic a time to be pregnant than during Advent, the season of longing and groaning. We are so very grateful and excited to be part of the miracle that is family, growing.
Wept in part because what drew the two of us women together wasn’t our children or their children but rather the abrupt death of one we both loved dearly.
I used to be one of those people who apologized for my tears. I don’t even understand that anymore. I cry unabashedly now. The gift of aging is learning right perspective. There is so much we ought to be apologizing for – being snarky, being flippant, being caustic, being mean-spirited, being envious, being dismissive, being self-centered. But the one thing we should never apologize for are the tears we shed on behalf of others.
Shouldn’t we be apologizing for our lack of tears? That would make more sense. It might also make the world a more inviting place, if we could all learn to cry freely for each other’s hurts and joys.
Before he died that awful death from esophageal cancer our friend learned that his own child is expecting another child. How does one die knowing that there are grandchildren you will never herald into this world?
There are some things which can only be said through tears. When the sorrows are deep and the joys are great, tears speak best. Glistening eyes of the season.
I find myself returning to one verse over and over during this Advent. It is a verse taken straight from the Nativity story:
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
What about you? What joy or sorrow do you find yourself weeping over lately? What poem or verse or words of wisdom are carrying you through this season of longing?