Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
By Jan Ackerson
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No matter—their words settle into my veins and find a new rhythm—that of my beating heart. I kiss the pulsing spot on his downy scalp and fall in love with my newborn son. What mysteries have curled his mouth into such a precious, milky smile?
My left arm aches—I have cradled his head for the entire church service. Soon he will be too large for my lap, but I want to hold on to this sweet time for just a few weeks more. My son’s cheek rests against my breast; it is a place where he is at peace. His matchstick arms and legs are always tight and curled, yet in my arms his long-lashed eyes close beatifically. This connection with my body is what he knows, for three years now.
The pastor concludes the service with a Scripture that pierces my heart: “He will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing…” Oh, sweet Jesus, sing with joy over my little boy!
Mama’s smell. Mama.
Mama’s touch. Mama.
Mama with me.
Sometimes my son’s eyes open wide and his gaze drifts upward, fixing on a patch of light or color. I think my little boy is seeing, then, for even though his eyes cannot grasp the spot for long, he returns to it again and again. His lips turn upward and he makes the mmmm sound that means “I’m happy, mama.”
I think that there is no lovelier sound than my 7-year-old’s mmmm—unless it is his rare and beautiful laughter. Every now and then, I am startled out of sleep by the sound of his chuckle, starting deep in his tummy and gurgling past bashful vocal cords. Will you share your funny secrets with me some day, little one?
He is slipping away—my brave young fellow is closer now to heaven than he is to me. I hold him one more time in my lap, my big little boy, and pry open his clenched fingers, inserting one pinkie into his fist. I sing my favorite hymn to him, with my head bent low to brush his ear and my other hand fingering damp curls.
Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.
Thank you for giving him to me, my Father. It has been my joy to be his mother.
The first words I ever heard were from the voice I’d been hearing all my life: Welcome home, My beloved child.
The first sight my opened eyes beheld was that of the One who had held my gaze from infancy.
The first words I spoke were words I had been practicing for years—since the day I was born—Hallelujah! My Savior!
And my first steps were no teetering baby steps, but running leaps into the embrace of my King.
Scripture quoted is from Zephaniah 3:17, KJV
“O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing,” Charles Wesley, public domain
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