It was supposed to be a lovely family day at the zoo.
Dad and mom there, with the child. Bears, monkeys, snakes and rhinos, could it get any better?
Then the unthinkable happened.
Mom picks up the little two year old and both crane to get a better look
at the exhibit of painted dogs, known for their amazing hunting abilities.
And somehow, somehow, the mother can never remember exactly how,
but his little foot slips on the rail and tumbles forward, out of her desperate grasp.
The next moments are carved in her memory, as his body falls, bounces and lands.
And then is hidden from view by the horrible, savage African dogs as they pounce on him.
The precious little life is gone by the time the last dog is taken away.
Her precious son. A body.
This can’t be real.
The same day, another mother, another drama.
After years of hoping, longing, wishing for a child, is finally carrying a precious life.
But early, WAY too early, her body goes into labor.
They wait it out at the hospital, hoping and praying that her muscles will relax.
Give them time, give the baby time to grow. For it is so, so small.
But her body continues to work, and soon she is wheeled into the operating room.
And this precious little girl, weighing just a little more than two pounds,
is lifted out of her and placed in an incubator.
Tubes and wires are attached and the mother longs to hold her close without those tubes.
Where is the bonding that she has heard about?
And why would a loving God allow this, when it could have been so different?
Then here I am, kissing my perfect little two year old as I tuck her in bed.
Her smooth skin, warm to my touch, is so perfect.
Her eyes glitter and sparkle with life and personality.
And I almost feel guilty for having her,
when another mother is still reeling in shock of the horrific accident of the day.
How she will cry as she washes the last load of his tiny laundry.
Those jeans will never get grass stained knees again.
And the windows won’t be smudged by his hands anymore…
How do I face today, with these delightful gifts, when others are dealing with such raw pain?
How to have a tender heart without hardening it from hurt?
How to be thankful while weeping with others?
In gratitude. In tenderness.
May my heart be tender, Lord, to weep with and hold those whose hearts throb.
To laugh and dance in the confetti of fall leaves with my children, so full of life and love.