The little infant baby girl in some pictures around our house is gone. That tiny face, with miniature features of a newborn only exists in memories now. Our daughter changes and grows every day. She hardly resembles the helpless little bundle we carefully brought home from the hospital. She does big kid stuff now.
I was looking at her pictures and longing for that irreplaceable moment of fresh newness that came with her arrival. I am no grizzled veteran of parenting by any means, but it was such a wonder and thrill to see her back then, when I hadn’t ever seen her before at all.
My JoJo is the light of my life. I wouldn’t trade her for anything. Even though I make jokes about her growing up too fast, I enjoy every second of our time together, just as she is.
So she is here, right? New and fresh every day it seems. She develops and matures by the nanosecond. The old her is hardly a flash of a memory and she moves on to new discoveries, new challenges too. She’s just doing what everybaby does, it’s natural.
I talked with a dear friend once, who wanted to help me learn about myself and transform as a person. She said that a helpful concept was to think of the end of each day as a death. She considered every morning a birth. She wanted to live in a way that opened with energy and possibility at daybreak, and rested with complete release at nightfall.
This isn’t so different than watching my Joella at play. She wakes into instantaneous movement and vigor for adventures within the crib. At night, she’s completely out, cached from a day where she gave it all she had.
At some point in my life, I began to use the morning to mull over regrets of the night before. The day might be spent in half-hearted gear-jamming. I can be stuck between wanting to pursue twenty directions at once and get nowhere. The nighttime can again blanket the mind with worry about the week to come or stuff I shoulda’ done.
Instead of a single day taking me from precious possibility through passionate production and on to relaxed completely forgiving rest, I hang on. I attempt to grasp together and hold all my past mistakes and grip the ghostly gossamer of the untold future. This exercise tires and torments. It’s self-mutilation and leaves me exhausted and vulnerable to rising tides of emotion.
Birth and Death, a completed life cycle, all in one day, somehow is manageable. If we really followed through and committed to this simple craziness, we might live full-out, one quickly passing day at a time.
Death isn’t a concept I take lightly. Death has touched us all in painful ways, including a dear family I love, that was rocked this week… It’s a foreboding word to even type out on the screen, capital D and all. In this context though, I loved how my friend conveyed the idea, that we could literally relieve ourselves of all anguish at the moment of nightly sleep. We could pardon ourselves from all the unchangeable steps we took or failed to take. I loved how she showed me that it’s okay, to just be okay, with what was, just as it was and is, there is a new day a new birth coming in the morning.
Our 10 and half month young daughter hasn’t yet learned the ways we adults judge ourselves and others. She is still in pure wonder and action and basic need. Jesus refers to the fact that we ‘mature’ and loose that childlike faith and release into the arms of our heavenly Father. In Matthew 18:3 the Word shows us this; ‘And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Until next week my friends, I hope that your mornings bring fresh possibility and youthful energy. I hope your head hits the pillow at night, without a care, leaving behind all but the quick prayer of thanksgiving for a day well lived, by the grace of God.