mysteries, yes (mary oliver)
truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
how grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
how rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
how two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
how people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
let me keep company always with those who say,
“look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
it is not lost on me that this is pregnancy and infant loss awareness week. my facebook feed reminds me daily, in part but not entirely because of one particular page i follow. i’ve mostly buried myself in work and family and puppy training, but as the week closes and i am forced to ready for this weekend (house cleaning, food preparation, friends visiting, baptism) it’s coming into focus.
a new term to me, james is my rainbow baby – a baby born following a pregnancy/infant loss. i’ve been wrestling with his baptism a bit, not because of james, but because my experience with baptism has been powerful yet varied. eliot was baptized the day mitch was ordained a priest – friends and family came to town, there was cake, lots of people attended, and i even bought a special outfit. ella was baptized with a few drops from a hospital water bottle right after she was born and before the nurse took her to be cremated.
sunday, we’ll baptize james at the camp stevens chapel surrounded by friends, woodpeckers, giant oaks, and the most beautiful font i’ve ever seen. sunday is the feast day of st. francis of assisi. seems perfect to me. we’ll follow the baptism with a hodge podge potluck. the food might not be plentiful enough. the hand-me-down outfit i’ve got in mind might not be warm enough. the hospitality i offer to guests probably won’t feel good enough. the weather (rain and cold in the forecast) might not hold out long enough.
but my baby will be baptized. not because god doesn’t already love and welcome him, but because it’s important that we – his family and friends – commit to raising him with intention and love and grace, reminding him (and us) that “you’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”