Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Screaming Wild

Dear Son,

You came into the world screaming wild, the most perfect baby.  But from the moment they put you into my arms, I knew, in the depths of me, that I was unqualified.  I stood over your bassinet a few hours later, watching your perfect face, your darling head, and the sweet rise and fall of your little chest, and... I was overcome with sadness.  I don't know why, Son, but somehow I knew that I would not be able to comfort you.

The next three years proved me right.  You screamed wild, and sometimes, Son...oftentimes, right through my bones.  I remember standing outside our house talking on the phone to my mom.  You cried on the inside and pounded on the door.  I cried on the outside, begging my mom for wisdom because...what in all this world do you do for a child who doesn't speak, but only screams?

What does a mama do, in the days before we knew about sensory issues, for a child that screams wild because he wants the skin peeled off his grapes, the tags cut out of his shirts, and his socks turned inside out so the seams won't touch his toes?  When being in a car seat is torture; when having his hair washed is terror; when nobody can understand what his physical needs are, let alone, the cries of his heart?  What does a mama, who loves and needs words, do for a child that loves to climb to the top of trees in his diaper, and needs to be understood, but can't speak?  

How, in all the world, can a mama comfort a child whose only comfort is sitting in her lap and... 

twisting and pulling out her hair?

Oh, Son...

We both grew in those days, yes?  I grew to hunger for help outside this world.  And you grew a compassion that I have never seen inside of it.  Because once we came through those days, my Daniel, it has been you comforting me.  It has been you calling me your little mama, and you seeing me and holding my hand.  It has been you, unashamed to hug me in front of all your friends, to tell me that you love me, and it has been you, still fussing with my hair at the end of the day when what I want to do is scream wild.

It is you standing for justice, and you holding the weary.  It is you who cradle the hearts of your sisters, and you who has earned the respect of your father and your brothers.  It is you standing behind the plow, and you planting the seeds.  And in all your wonderful weirdness, Son, even when people judge your cover without reading the whole story, it is you who lives the Gospel of peace.  You cannot abide the war torn home, and as a result, you have forced us to find a new way.  I have much to learn.

Mostly, Son... I know that you see the broken ones.  

And I know, Son... that you are a broken one too.

When the paramedic called the house to tell us that you'd been in an accident, I thought it was a wrong number.  But when we drove just down the road, I screamed wild when I saw emergency vehicles and when I saw... our car.  

What would I be without you, Son?  
How did you come out alright?

Your dad and I...we sandwiched you between us, and he held your head in his arms.  I slipped my arms right 'round to your heart.  I felt it beating, and I heard you say, "I'm okay."  

I screamed wild, holding your life in my arms.

You said you were sorry, and that you knew it was going to cost us thousands of dollars to replace the truck.  I said, "I'll spend thousands of dollars on a truck any day, over thousands of dollars on a funeral to bury my son."  You turned to hold me in your arms, and you kept saying it over and over...

"I'm here, Mama.  I'm here."

Your sisters and your brother wait in the van for the news, and they all think..."What will be without Daniel?  How can we be a family without him?"  

What if all the ways that you have been the laughter and the light in our home had gone dark, Son?  And what of the fruit that has been born out of all those years that you couldn't speak?  Who would show compassion to the hurt and the weak and the lost and the lame?  Who, but you, would be the voice for those who scream wild because nobody can hear them?

You walk away from that mess of a truck, and you say it... 

I HEAR you.  

"I'm here, Mama.  I'm here."  

And I know that God has spared me; has spared our family from the shadow lands of grief.  He has been merciful, and He has kept your life.  

He has kept you... do you hear me?

Son, not all are spared.

This world is desperate for the sound of souls like yours so...

Keep screaming wild.

I love you,