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The Nightwatch

 

the nightwatch :: sarah bessey

Our last little baby doesn’t sleep. She is now nearly eleven months old and I am too old for this. She falls asleep easily, she is happy and content, she naps beautifully, she is ahead of the curve in her development in every way and she is apparently unable to sleep longer than two hours at a time. She simply wakes up constantly. And so I am awake every two hours at least, some nights it’s as often as every thirty minutes. For nearly a year of my life, I have not slept.

I have deployed every tool in my toolbox. After all, I am the mother of four: there are few things I haven’t tried and there are few dogmatic ideologies left intact. I have had everything from great sleepers to not-so-great sleepers. But this is a whole other category of sleeplessness, never before experienced by me. Since nothing has worked and she is happy and healthy – if alarmingly awake in the wee sma’s of the morning – there is nothing much left to do so we, well, we endure.

But that word doesn’t quite sum up what that time has become for me. I am trying to fix this, absolutely but I also have to accept that this is her right now and this is what it will be for however long it would be, so I have searched for grace here in this, too.

Because I cannot fix it. I am out of ideas. I have had to find a way to function in my life without much sleep. I feel okay most days: some days, I feel not-okay but even that is okay. I am not alone, I have support, we have found our ways to deal with this. It seems a small thing from the outside, even a rite of passage: “The baby won’t sleep” – we’ve all been there. And now it feels like this entire year has been one very long day broken up by naps.

I think that when we are faced with something we cannot fix or control – however small or however big – it can break us wide open and we discover who we were underneath the comfort trappings of answers or affluence or health or even sleep or whatever it is that we’ve lost. And then when the underneath of us is out in the fresh air, I think it’s an opportunity to heal it, to strengthen it, to make beautiful even the reckoning.

Some nights, I trudge through these rituals: the fuzzy “already?” waking up to her cry, the patting of her bum, the nursing in the rocking chair, the “will-she-go-back-to-sleep-or-won’t-she?” of pausing before rising to do either one, the tip-toeing out of a dark room, the gentle closing of a door only to hear her stir and rise and weep again while I softly bang my head against the door frame. I am no super mum by any stretch; there are plenty of nights when I am comatose and automatic, nights when I am frustrated.

But then here it is: hiding in plain sight, an altar. I’m standing sentry and holding vigil for her. It feels like I have become the answer because I have no answers and so I am free to simply show up both during the night for the baby and even as I am now during the day. It feels like a holy act to lift one crying and cold baby up out of her darkness and hold her to my body, to still the cries of at least one soul.

I cannot save the world, I know that by now. My idealism of my youth has become the pragmatism of my do-what-works stage of life. But I still believe that every small thing matters and that everything in our lives, everything we do can be a testimony to the goodness and freedom and welcome of our God. And so maybe I can’t save the world – it isn’t mine to save anyway – and maybe my life is smaller than the world tells me is acceptable, but this is my place, no one else has this spot. I’m powerless but I’m redeeming it: there are many nights I pray in these hours standing in the gap for every mother who isn’t safe and every child who isn’t being held.

Last night, I rocked Maggie back to sleep. I held her upright against me, her left ear pressed just below the hollow in my throat, the curve of her small head fitting just underneath my chin, her hands were tucked in, her legs wrapped around my soft stomach, and we rocked together. I rubbed her back with the palm of my right hand, my left arm wrapped underneath her little diapered bum, holding her close to me, I felt her breathing slow. And even in the difficulties, even in the exhaustion, even in knowing that I have to rise and shine for every one else in the house in just a few short hours and how my work has suffered, even knowing I can’t do this forever and knowing that I’ll finagle for a tandem nap while everyone is at school, even here in this moment, I admit it: I delight in her and in this rickety glider that creaks on the ease back motion. Look here: her hair is like dandelion fluff and it moves with my breath, isn’t she a miracle?

I am tired. I would be glad if she would sleep. If heaven is an actual place, I hope that it’s a dark quiet room with a big king bed and I hope no one bothers me for the first millennium while I sleep off motherhood.

And at the same time, I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I wouldn’t make her scream in her bed alone and I wouldn’t trade even the hard parts, the demanding parts, because this place of parenting as simultaneous power and powerlessness is my altar. It’s where I learned about prayer as breath and work and presence. This is where I learned the holy work of waiting in the darkness, that the Holy Spirit is bright and alive in this moment not some far off moment, that our God is a mother and a father who comes to us out of the darkness and the cold to lift us up over and over and over again until we finally surrender to rest.

Continue Reading · faith, parenting · 84

The Sanitized Stories We Tell

besseys-157

In the early days of a pregnancy, I went to see the midwife every month. Then it became every two weeks. Then, it began to feel as if I saw my midwife more often than I picked up my mail. We would go through the usual routine: blood pressure (always low), heart rate (always low), measure the size of my baby bump (always jaw-droopingly huge). For my last baby, I went to a new midwife and midwifery practice for me. My former practice closed up shop and moved to Chilliwack a few years ago so I started from scratch here. One of the reasons why I love midwifery is that instead of walking in and checking off tick-boxes, I have found that midwives typically (not always! I know a lot of wonderful OBGYNs who are very woman-centric, too) focus just as much on my emotional and spiritual state as on my physical state, believing that all of the aspects of my life are deeply connected to birth and health. I’ve found pregnancy and giving birth to be my greatest metaphor, absolutely, too. I can’t separate my spirit from my body particularly during such a mighty time of life.

Near the end of my pregnancy, I confessed to her that I hadn’t been sleeping well. It wasn’t just the typical have-to-pee-every-hour stuff (although that’s very real, people). And it was more than the bout of sickness we had had here for the past few weeks. I was run off my feet with sick kids and a sick husband, culminating in my own punishing chest cold. Yes, I was up coughing but that wasn’t it, either.

Really, it was the dreaming.

I have vivid dreams at the best of times. I don’t know if it’s the INFJ thing or a spirit-gift thing but I’ve often had a weird dream connection to my spirit and even, I would argue, to the Holy Spirit. I’ve often experienced almost a sense of the prophetic in dreams – for my self, for my husband, for our children, even for my sister on occasion. It seems to be a place where I meet God or work through life for some weird reason. So I know enough by now to pay attention to my dreams. And in the last weeks of my last pregnancy, my dreams became oddly consuming and consistent.

I would dream in vivid detail of my actual self in my actual life. I even dreamed the same pajamas that I was wearing at that moment. And in my dream, I woke up to find that I had either given birth to the baby in my sleep or – more frequently – that I was about to give birth. In the dream, I would wake up out of my sleep and feel the baby just seconds from being born. And then I would feel an absolute tidal wave of grief and fear and anxiety, a profound sense of aloneness in such a key moment of my life. Then I would wake up. And inevitably, when I woke up, I would have a hard time distinguishing between the real and the dream. It would take me a few panicked moments to realize that it was a dream, that it wasn’t actually happening.  And I would have this dream all night, every night, for weeks. I repeatedly woke up, panicked that I was having the baby alone. I went to bed every night in dread of it.

So I told my midwife about my dreams. I told her in the way that I always tell things that alarm me: I joked about it. I don’t know if I’m the only person who does this, but I have some weird affliction that makes me downplay or self-deprecate my own fears or needs. I joke about them in an attempt to disarm them, perhaps, to downplay my hurts or my fears or even my grief. So I told her about my dream and then tried to crack a few jokes at my own expense, “oh, can you even imagine that happening?” and “as if I need another reason for disrupted sleep!”

Har har har.

I think this is one of the reasons why I love midwives, they have a finely tuned bullshit detector and aren’t afraid to call me on it. They see right through my “it’s not so bad” and “ha ha” and “it’s not a big deal” words to my spirit somehow. And so without missing a beat, without even cracking a smile at my lame attempts to disarm my own fear, Carolyn looked me right in the eye and said, “Sarah. Have you ever dealt with the trauma of your son’s birth?”

And just like that, I couldn’t breathe.

I started to cry. I hadn’t even said it out loud and she knew somehow exactly what these dreams were about: they were about my birth experience with our son.

At the time, it had been six years since I had an unattended, unintended free birth. That basically means that I went into labour, the baby came too quickly, and we were left in our building’s parking garage having a big baby by ourselves. It’s a story I have told a million times, usually for a laugh. I use it as an ice-breaking anecdote at women’s retreats, I wrote about it on my blog, I use it as a sermon illustration when I preach at Christmas: I have all my jokes down pat. I tell people about how I hung onto a cement pole and hollered at my husband that the baby was going to FALL OUT. I tell them about the crowd of strangers standing around us, calling 911 on their mobile phones. I crack a joke about how I’m so glad that this happened before the days of smart phones, otherwise it would have been all over Buzzfeed before the placenta was delivered. I tell them about the guy who walked out in the middle of it all, took in the scene, and said “I think I’m going to take the bus!” before beating a hasty retreat. I tell them about standing up with my husband’s arms under my arms, a total stranger kneeling at my feet to make sure that the baby didn’t hit the cement floor, and how I delivered that nearly 9 lbs baby boy into my own hands. I tell them about the fire trucks and the ambulance, I joke about how my mother’s nerves will never recover, I always get a laugh when I tell everyone about how I was whisked away in an ambulance with our baby and Brian was left standing alone in the parking lot wondering what in the hell just happened. He went into shock and just mechanically started cleaning the floors instead of following us. A guy wandered out into the parking lot, took in all of the blood all over the floor, and freaked out, thinking someone had gotten shot. Meanwhile, I went to triage at the hospital to be stitched up by an over-tired ER doctor whose stitching consigned me to a year of recovery from that experience.

Oh, I’ve got all the jokes for that birth experience. Har har har.

My mother has often broached the subject with me, wondering if I was as upset by that experience as she was. But she underestimates my ability to compartmentalize. I can compartmentalize like it’s my spiritual gift. I’m even better at compartmentalizing than I am at being passive-aggressive, and that is saying something.

No, I have not dealt with that trauma, Carolyn. I do not feel like I am allowed to be traumatized: it turned out fine. Look! See! A healthy baby! Everything is fine! I’m fine! He’s fine! We’re all fine! Let’s move on! It ended well and so let’s not make a fuss about it. Let’s carry on.

But six years later, I was reliving that moment of feeling so completely out of control, so afraid, so alone, so unprepared, so exposed over and over and over again in my dreams because I refused to feel it in my awake life.

If we don’t deal with our trauma, our trauma begins to deal with us. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel our feelings, they have a habit of peeking around the corners of our lives, breaking in at the most inopportune moments. And like most damage we experience – whether it was inflicted on us by another or by ourselves or just because this is life and, as Wesley said, life is suffering princess, it’s almost always rooted in our fears but it manifests for each of us different – rage, anger, self-harm, self-neglect, frenzy, numbing, whatever.

I didn’t need tips on how to sleep better. I needed to deal with the root of my sleeping problems and that was unresolved trauma about birth.

As soon as she asked that gentle question, her pen down in her lap, her eyes straight on me, I knew that she had sliced right through to the issue. I had not dealt with my fears and trauma from my son’s birth. And so my spirit or subconscious or whatever you want to call it was going to keep tapping me resolutely on the shoulder until I finally did so.

I feel like we give out gold stars to people who get over things quickly. And like any former evangelical over-achiever I wanted my gold star. We want people to heal on a timeline. Yes, yes, that’s terrible but aren’t you over it yet?

It makes me wonder how much of my trauma or sin or grief or devastation I have not dealt with yet. I wonder about my miscarriages. I wonder about my damaged body image from years of trying to earn approval for my uncooperative body. I wonder about this season of my life now – am I dealing well with this new season? With the death of a few dreams? With my new reoriented path? Or am I just shoving it away away away from myself, tucking it in my secret room, refusing to deal with it. My trauma is my own, you have yours, we each have it.

And sometimes we judge or rank our sorrows, I know I do, I feel I don’t get to be sad when other people are sadder for better reasons. I stack my sorrows up against the sufferings of others and think that because I don’t have it as bad as someone else  that I don’t get to grieve, I don’t get to talk about it, I don’t get to deal with it. So because I survived that birth and because Joseph miraculously survived that birth experience, I have to be over it. Now.

And I was not over it, not really. It had just taken me six years to admit it.

Carolyn took the time that day to walk me through my memories: the sad and scary ones. Instead of my anecdotes and one-liners, my jocular “it’s all fine now” version, she let me tell the other side of it. How I was angry. How I was afraid. How I bitterly regretted leaving our apartment, how I blamed everyone else for that decision – we lived only five minutes from the hospital and everyone was desperate to get me to the People Who Knew What To Do. How I put my hands between my legs and felt the perfect dome of my son’s head there and knew that this was happening. How I felt so wildly out of control and afraid. How it felt to have strangers watching me as I squatted and exposed myself and blood ran down my legs. How it felt to be cold and how it smelled like gasoline and cement, how I tore so horribly because there was no midwife there to easily guide the baby safely out of me. How much I missed my husband at the hospital and how we couldn’t find him, not knowing he’d gone into shock at the parkade and was blindly trying to clean up the mess we had made of the floor there. How I resented the ER triage doctor for butchering my stitches so thoroughly.  And how I couldn’t stop thinking “what if what if what if” as I nursed that wee boy in the hospital that night. What if he’d needed oxygen. What if I had dropped him. What if he had been hurt. What if I haemorrhaged. What if what if what if. I could never have forgiven myself if he had been hurt. Never.

I had never told my dark side. I had never admitted to the terror and the pain and the humiliation of that experience. I had prepackaged it for consumption, leaving out the very darkness that gave the light its beauty.

I had turned my son’s birth story into an anecdote and in so doing, I had lessened the power of our experience.

It is a glorious and weird story, yes, but it’s also a dark story to me, filled with regret and fear as well as laughter and resolution.

It makes me wonder how much pressure we feel to sanitize our stories so that they don’t make people uncomfortable, how we anecdote our experience with the lightness or the healing or birth or new life alone in order to make it acceptable. We simplify and sanitize and so we miss the healing we could have if we only spoke the whole truth.

We then talked about what would be different this time around. Now if, heaven forbid, that happened again, what would be different? We crafted a detailed contingency plan – a plan we ended up needing to use as even Maggie’s birth did not go “as planned” either. And so we go, disarming the fear with honesty, with empathy, with letting ourselves admit that its not okay and we need help to become okay, and then by empowering ourselves.

I left her office that afternoon feeling cleansed.

And that night, I went to bed and I slept. I slept and slept. I slept like I hadn’t slept in months, easily and lightly and dreamlessly.

image by Sharalee Prang Photography

Continue Reading · fearless, giving birth, Hold Fast, journey, parenting · 186

Waking Up Together

waking up :: sarah bessey

Our littlest baby started her night life, sleeping right beside our bed in the same white bassinette as her brother and sisters and cousins. But now she is four months old and, like all Bessey babies, she’s a tall girl plus she rolls over like it’s her job so we moved her white crib into our room.

She goes to sleep for the night at about 7 o’clock in that crib. I’m a softie of a mum in many regards but I hold the line on a few things: sleep and routine being the two biggest, I think. So she nurses in bed with me and then I lay her down in her crib where she sleeps steady until the middle of the night. A few times she’s slept right through the night and I sing hallelujah. Usually though, I can hear her stirring before she even fully wakes up sometimes and, while nearly asleep myself, I rise from our bed and move to her, settling her back to sleep. If the soother won’t do, I lift her out of bed and bring her into our warm bed to nurse. I find sleeping with babies more intuitive and restful than fighting to keep a lonely baby in her own crib all night long. I need my sleep, too.

Inevitably, we will fall asleep together in my bed during the wee hours and then in the morning, we will wake up together.

This might be my favourite moment of the day. If she wakes first, she never cries, she lays there quietly watching my face and then she begins to paw at me with her not-yet-coordinated hands, reaching for me in her own way. Her firm little body is chubby and warm, zipped into her little sleeper.  I feel the light scratches and pushes but when my eyes blearily open and I look right at her, she breaks into the wide open smile of a happy baby, all baby gums and delight and squeals.

It’s a good way to start the day, to make someone so happy just by being awake and paying attention.

I want to laugh out loud at the sight of her grinning up at me. It almost makes up for the 5:30 a.m. wake-up call. (Almost.)

Our life is pretty full here. Throughout the day, Maggie Love is just along for the ride and that’s as it should be. The big kids adore her but they are busy and loud and demanding, too. She is woken up from naps more than I would like, the doors are slamming as everyone is in-and-out-and-in-and-out with the summertime ease. I work from home and so often she sits in her swing or plays on her little baby-mat while I cram in a few minutes of work here and there.

But at night, we sleep together and then we wake up together.

This is our time. While the rest of the house sleeps, we are breathing each other in.

My attention might be fractured during the day but we do find our moments – thanks to nursing, babywearing, or if we go visit my parents and then my mother sits and holds her for her late afternoon nap, patting her bum in the rhythm that has been passed down through the ages while rocking slowly. The night is the most sacred: the way our bodies fit together, I curl around her, she presses into me, her little tummy is full, we breathe together and rest at last.

We’re well-practiced by now, my husband and me, at this and now we know how quickly it goes, how soon they grow up and sleep in their own little beds and the earth continues to spin us around the sun. The babies who used to sleep in our beds are nearly nine and nearly seven and four. We will blink again and it will be first jobs and first dates.

So he always says that it’s one of the favourite sights of his life, the sight of the little babies we’ve made pressed against me in the morning, laying in white cotton sheets, my shirt all askew, and he wraps his arms around us both. The day will launch ahead quickly – he’s off to work, the tinies will tumble into the day, and away we all go.

We had thought we were done with this stage of life, so we are savouring every moment of the last little baby together. Store it up, we say, carry it in your heart. This will have to last us a lifetime. Someday our bed will be empty again at the right time, it will be just us two. I imagine us, grey and wrinkled, and he will say “do you know what the favourite sight of my life was?” and I will know the answer.

But for another little while, this is what it feels like to sleep with your sweet littlest babe, this is what it feels like to wake up to your own life, this is what it feels like to be in love.

photo by Sharalee Prang

Continue Reading · Maggie Love, parenting · 23

Have your own truck :: On empowering our children

Empower your children :: Sarah Bessey

When I got my drivers license at 16 years old, my dad and mum bought us two girls a 1979 Ford half-ton. Our truck was brown, it weighed more than a building, and we named him Frank the Gas Monster. I went to work at a little retail store in the mall 20 hours a week while in high school because we were expected to put gas in Frank  – no small task with dual gas tanks. (Yes, we lived in Alberta and old trucks were cheap back then, how did you guess?)

Since I was the only driver until my sister got her license, I had to shuttle my sister around, too – which wasn’t a problem since we were close in age, best friends, and we had the same social circle. I drove us to school, to church, to youth group events, to parties, to camping trips with our friends, out on double dates with our boyfriends.

Having a kid who drives is convenient for a busy family, absolutely. And it was great to have wheels. But the main reason why my parents made sure we had a vehicle?

They wanted us to be in charge of our own selves.

They were determined that we would never be reliant on anyone else for a ride home, especially not a date, especially if a date went bad. If we ever wanted to leave a party early, we got to leave when we wanted to leave. They knew we could be counted on to drive safely: it wasn’t an option for us to be getting into a car with God knows who driving like a bat out of hell.

They were determined that their girls would be in charge of their own agency and mobility at all times.

Having our own truck was empowering. 

Over and over throughout my childhood and girlhood, my parents intentionally empowered us to be in charge of our own lives.

I’ve thought about Frank the Gas Monster a lot over the past few years but particularly right now when the Duggar story is bringing a much-needed light onto the truth and consequences of patriarchal culture, particularly on women. And when you write a book like Jesus Feminist, you become privy to a lot of women’s tender stories. In the past few years, through email and in person, I’ve been honoured to hear from women all around the world, desperate to share their precious stories with someone. And so often their stories break my heart.

So many of the women I hear from grew up in that sort of Duggar-ish patriarchal church culture that did the very opposite of my parents. Instead of empowering their girls, they dis-empowered them. Well-meaning authority figures often removed their agency, their mobility, their independence, isolating them and then shackling them into dependence on the good will of the men in their life. Children were controlled, women were subservient to men, and the consequences aren’t hard to figure out.

I can’t tell you how many women I hear from who are trapped in abusive or unhealthy or broken homes but feel unable to leave because they simply have no way to support themselves or their children. And when life hasn’t turned out according to the “Master Plan,” they are filled with despair and crippled. Their lives are still dependent on the good will of a man. That theology might work okay when everything is perfect and everyone is doing what they are supposed to do, but let’s be honest: life happens. And if that good will departed for one reason or another, they were devastated, of course, but now they were also on a steep learning curve. No credit cards, no education (often homeschooled), no drivers license, lots of small children, and so on. The consequences of this damaging theology are legion but lately I’ve been reminded afresh just how much of a price women pay when they are kept powerless. (As a note, I am not an expert on patriarchal church culture at all but if you are looking for a place of support, I’ve heard excellent things about Recovering Grace.)

Now, my parents have always had a strong, beautiful marriage based on mutuality. And sure, like most parents, they wanted us to experience the love of another person, to get married, have children. They fully expected that to happen.

But they made sure we were able to take care of ourselves, too.

If we ever got married, it was going to be because we wanted to, not because we had to.

And if we ever wanted or needed to leave a marriage, we would be able to do so. If our husbands left us or, God forbid, died, we would be okay for the practical work of running our lives and caring for our children even if our hearts were broken.

We were empowered from a young age to make our own decisions and to own our own lives.

There were other ways that my parents were very intentional about empowering us girls. Their expectations were high for school and work ethic. We were expected to get jobs if we wanted spending money. If we struggled in school, we were expected to show up for extra tutoring and studying until we figured it out (chemistry was nearly the death of me). We were expected to go on to university after high school – even though that wasn’t their own path. We were expected to earn scholarships to help pay for our own education, this was no free ride. We were expected to study a discipline that would get us into a career that could pay the bills.

Most importantly, we were given freedom to fail when the stakes were low. We could make a few bad decisions with our independence because their reasoning was that it was better to fail while they were there to help pick up the pieces than to send us out into the world for the first shot at failure.

Those years at home are practice for an independent life after home.

My own tinies are still quite small but I do keep the idea of empowerment close by as we raise them. Right now that looks different than a big brown Ford truck obviously but we find age-appropriate ways to encourage independence.

I’m learning to keep my eye on the long-game: I’m not managing children, I’m raising children into capable and compassionate adults. I’m not doing the tinies any favours to keep them dependent on me for everything from laundry to food, learning to relationships. Teaching responsibility and encouraging independence takes longer to teach, and it requires a tremendous amount of faith to take the risk of setting them free to make mistakes, but it is so worth it. That big ugly brown truck is my shorthand to remember that I need to empower my children to be independent and own their lives.

Keeping our children powerless does not do them any favours.

 

This post is part of an ongoing series about the lessons I picked up from my own parents about parenting

 

Continue Reading · parenting · 26

I’m here, you’re not alone.

im here

I’m here, you’re not alone. Shhhh, now, I’m here. And with those words, I lift a crying baby up and out of her darkness. She’s unaware of where she fits in her life, perhaps, but I know just where she is. I’m never far from her, even though to her new mind I’ve disappeared every time I’m not in her line of sight, but that’s not true.

And so when she wakes up or when she’s lonely or when she’s hungry or just wants someone to hold her, to calm her heart, she cries out and I come to her and I lift her up into my arms, shhhh, I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I say.

Oh, I’m teaching her something: I’m teaching her that I will always come for her. I’m teaching her that she is safe and secure. I’m teaching her that I am reliable, that she is believed, that I don’t believe she’s manipulating me or bossing me. I’m teaching my child that I am here and she is not alone. Dry your tears, small girl, I’m here, I’m always here. I will always come for you.

***

I’ve heard that most of our theology is autobiography. I think that’s true. I think we often project what we learned about authority or our parents, in particular, onto God. And then we often parent our children in the way that we believe God is parenting us. So if we believe God is a terrible judge with exacting standards and a trapdoor to hell, then that changes how we move through our lives, how we judge others, particularly our children. And yes, I think that damages people.

But what if we see God through the metaphor of a mother with a newborn babe? what do we see instead? After all, the metaphors for God’s love are diverse throughout Scripture but I’m often reminded in these tender days just after giving birth and caring for a newborn that I’m part of that metaphor, too, with my labour and my pain, with my ferocious protectiveness and my consuming love.

My entire body yearns for my child, watch us in these early days how we curl into each other, how I protect her, nourish her, comfort her, even how I delight in her – you’re seeing a glimpse of something divine here, I believe. Isn’t this one of the great gifts God has given us? A glimpse into how God loves us, a share of the joy, a sign and a foretaste of the Kingdom among us already. God in his goodness, sharing with us what it means to love so selflessly, so unconditionally, so completely.

***

In the Scriptures, there is one little thing often overlooked on Good Friday. In Matthew 27:51, we are told that at the moment when Jesus cried out and gave up his spirit, the moment he died, the veil in the temple that symbolically stood between God and man, the entrance to the Holy of Holies, was torn in two…from the top to the bottom.

There is no barrier between us anymore, the Holy of Holies is open to us all and it’s not because of anything we did or didn’t do. Because this was a rescue, this was redemption, this was the death that made death die, this was the moment when all of creation was redeemed as Jesus swept into the domain of death and hell, suffering and sickness, sin and horror, to cure us and then rise again victorious, Christus Victor.

And when I think of that veil being torn from the top to the bottom, now I imagine God sweeping into the world, like a mother to her crying child in the darkness with that physical yearning, gathering us up out of our loneliness and our hunger, our longing and our needs to whisper: I’m here, I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here. I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, darling, I’m here.

photo by sharalee prang photography

Continue Reading · Easter, faith, Maggie Love, parenting · 25