Those quiet days, stillness filled, have come. Days of breathing deeply, of drinking in moments that used to rush by, of finding peace’s mantle settle gently all about me. Chattering voices, bubbling laughter, pounding tread of little feet set on adventure now hover overhead only in memory’s yawning cavern. Songs lighting on my ear fall today from other voices. Voices filling me with the splendor of God, the marvel of His creation, spoken clearly in the rustling wind a-dance in treetops overhead. Mockingbirds add voice to the chorus already lifted heavenward by mourning doves and sparrows. I am full. Yet, a yearning stirs the air strangely and with it arrives an unwelcome disquiet.
Adorning the walls of my home, family pictures speak in whispered softness these days. With their utterance a realization weaves its own voice round about me. A voice longing-laden, relentless, insistent at being heard, with missive clear, undisguised, breaking bonds of peacefulness I’ve been resting in so easily. I miss my children. Deeply. Miss yesterday – miss so many gifts yesterday held. My little ones, now grown, still live near, still bless my life in countless ways, yet they abide elsewhere. As is the nature of things to move steadily onward, my children now fully, rightfully, live on adulthood’s stage. Yet today the pages of their innocence tug at my heart, tug with an unexpected fierceness, fierceness akin to pain.
One such page brings a soft smile to these lips, a delighted sparkle to my eyes. Writing on this time-yellowed leaf holds the unabashed, unfettered love of my son, Jarrod. A page I cherish, with a strange longing, an aching for renewed yesterdays.
Sunshine never fit a child more aptly than this son who fills those remembered tomes of my life. He entered a room and a light turned on, brightening even the furthest, darkest corners. A love-light which couldn’t be hidden. In the fragrant sweetness of those days no bushel existed that could dampen, dim, even the smallest measure of love-light’s glow.
And in the remembrance, the ache grows.
Before Jarrod reached the ripe age of four, he was the second of four children under six years of age. About that time his exuberance reached a new demonstrative love-level. From some unknown chamber within his heart, love began bubbling with indescribable effervescence, until uncontainable, it gushed forth in a completely unexpected form. It didn’t matter if we were sitting on the couch reading a story, getting ready for bed, or even if my children and I sat together in the pew at church. For a period of several weeks, without warning he would grab my arm, and begin kissing it from fingertip to shoulder, and back again. He wasn’t imitating something he’d seen, nor acting for an audience, it simply flowed from him naturally, innocently, purely. And he wouldn’t be put off. Need to express his feelings consumed him.
More than twenty years have traveled across the pages of my life since the drying of that ink. And I’m certain, were my son to be reminded of it now, embarrassment would be the glow lighting his face. But I miss the sweet innocence and beauty of that unsolicited expression of his love for me. A gift yesterday held.
A similar gift graces another day, another time’s page. And bitter-sweetness moves another’s heart.
Wafting through the evening air, pungent aromas of multiple spices mixed easily with the deep timber of voices raised in conversational debate around Simon’s table. Tonight’s meal began in this Pharisee’s home like it had so many other evenings. Numerous guests, each resting on his side, leaned forward comfortably, supporting himself on a sturdy elbow as he partook of vegetable-laden platters. Wine flowed freely, as did the subtle chatter of familiar conversation. A lone guest supped with an awareness of heart, somehow setting him apart from all the others.
Into the midst of this masculine arena slipped, unnoted, a more fragile, delicate form. Hearing from the crowd outside that the Master was here, she’d come, not to partake of the offering spread on the table before them, but to pour out her own. Her need propelled her beyond social convention. But she thought she could come discreetly, offer her gratitude, her devotion, then slip away once more, unnoticed. Until she saw Him.
First came the tears. One, quickly followed by another, unleashing a torrent she couldn’t contain. Soon sobbing hung in the air, competing with the clatter of dishes and conversation suddenly found punctuated with not-so-comfortable silences. Still the tears fell, until she noted Jesus’ feet, now drenched. Hardly realizing what she was doing, she stooped quickly, carefully setting aside the jar of fragrant oil she’d brought Him in gratitude, and seeing no towel, reached for the only thing she had. Unbinding her hair, she moved to wipe dry the feet of the One to Whom she now owed everything.
Seeing Jesus had opened one floodgate, touching Him unexpectedly unleashed another. Where first tears fell, kisses now rained, relentlessly, until Jesus’ own feet were awash in the expressions of one who had felt His touch of unutterable mercy. Grace, meeting in this moment unabashed, uncontainable gratitude, knew the purity of innocent love’s outpouring.
A cherished page . . . a remembrance . . . a growing ache.
A stirring, gentle, yet persistent as a breeze set on journeying, begins to ruffle pages in my heart. Pages filled with writ from other days, earlier days, days when His touch was new, and fresh. A familiar Voice whispers that I am not alone in missing yesterdays. Not alone in missing an abiding that has moved to other stages. Stages where I don’t belong. Stages that were never intended to hold my heart, to carry it so far from His.
Tears, new tears, my tears, begin to fall with a knowing that now flows about me. A knowing that God misses the pages containing my fierce love of Him. Pages written over the years with a mellower pen fill His heart with an aching – a yearning for more of me – for my unfettered, unabashed love of Him.
And tears fall, from two hearts heavy with longing, and with renewed hope.