Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Comfort and joy

So many tears this year. Sorrow's shadows aren't far behind. Erin especially is feeling the loss. Our Rudy cat that died last January. A former neighbor and dear family friend who died in May, so young. Losses in goodbyes. And community. And trust.

Erin's face transforms to tears in seconds as she tells me of her friend whose Christmas wish was for a new mother. "She didn't even sound like she cared!" The sobs. I held her close for a long time.

"I love you, Mom! I love you!" I held her tighter, remembering last January's read of the woman who tore her house apart, and how outside stress and circumstance can steal so much more than peace.

Shane's mom died, and I think of a mother's heart all the more.

This morning, new news that a neighbor's dog was put to sleep yesterday, and I don't know how to tell Erin. Oh, she loved Sammie. I prefaced it with, "I have some sad news ..."

And she guessed before I could tell her. We sat together by the fire, and she buried her head against me and dug deeper into the folds of the blanket my dad gave me. She had lots of questions and so much to say--all this death, so much loss, all year and now. She counted it.

"Why does everything have to die? Do animals go to heaven?" she asked. "What if they don't?"

"Where else would they go?" I queried gently.

"What if they went nowhere?" The despair.

"Why would God make nowhere? When God is full of love and creativity, why would he make nowhere?" I wondered. We talked about how he cares for animals and delights in his creations and the things that were made that declare his glory--even Jesus said the rocks would cry out. She relaxed.

"Let's read a story," she suggested and cuddled closer. We are reading Christmas Remembered by Tomie dePaola (he is older than my dad by almost two years) and she pointed out the hearts in the illustrations. She lightened to find the heart on every page, even the hard ones in the trickiest places, she is convinced it's there.

She seeks in earnest. She finds.

There's a metaphor hidden in that as well.

Erin with Sammie on Halloween

She dons my readers and waits with mischief for my return.

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