Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Tug

The post below appeared first a year ago, on Emily Wierenga's blog. I published a teaser in this space and intended to paste the rest of the post in with the teaser, later, as I do always before having my posts printed and bound; however, I forgot in this instance. I'm publishing the entire post, now, so as to insure its inclusion in my next blog book. My friend Dot Samuel of Psalms of Samuel in Watercolor painted the two images below as a visual prompt for this specific project; I include them with gratitude.

Baby Chip celebrated his first birthday November 2nd. I remain keenly aware that, daily, God is writing the story of his life.


They counted to three and, working together, swung me from bed to table. Strange to witness their strain when I felt nearly weightless; I am a pendulum, I thought, tugged by time. I am floating; I have become a boat on water, or perhaps I am the water itself. On command, I spread my arms wide, and I won't lie: I thought of Christ crucified and wondered--as my doctor flayed me open like a fish--if I were about to die.

I felt no pain in the slicing: only a great tug, and my doctor lifted out the baby I could not touch. Later (after they'd swung me back to bed), someone handed that child to me. He latched with ferocity onto my breast and tugged out everything I had, and for the first time I believed the whispers I'd heard for years: a baby boy, and neither of you will die in getting him here.

And then relief leaked out of my eyes, but shame, too, because I'd made Doubting Thomas look good. Hearing and seeing hadn't satisfied; I needed to feel this son at my breast. I'd been pulling him toward me--out of dreams, out of the star-filled pocket of the Lord--for so long: I needed to know that boy had given up a more impressive Milky Way for the one what courses through my body.

He brought with him new eyes, because now I see it everywhere: the tug. I see the tension between beings, and there's no need to (be a) jerk, but every relationship involves tie and tug. The way one spouse offers up flesh to the other: I'm still here; don't turn your eyes toward another. The wildly creative ways in which a child of any age interrupts his or her parents' conversations, screen time, alone time: prove that no one and nothing is more important than I. The way even the restless dog carries a rope, a ball, to its master's feet: play with me.

And beautiful, isn't it?, the way a (wo)man of God pulls at the hem of His garment: see mehear me. The way the Father responds in reaching down and lifting up: seek me, serve me.

I hold close this child for whom I prayed and ask God to help me take myself less seriously. Make me a pendulum, I ask. Make me a boat on water. Make me the water itself. Help me to float, to die to myself. Help me to pick up the ball, to keep it rolling. Help me to show You, and them, how very much love I have in my heart. Give me tug, Lord, on these ties: just the perfect amount of tension that You, and they, should feel me ever on the other end.


  1. "And beautiful, isn't it?, the way a (wo)man of God pulls at the hem of His garment: see me, hear me. The way the Father responds in reaching down and lifting up: seek me, serve me."
    I keep rereading this beautiful and powerful section and closing my eyes to see it. To see how He bends. To see how I pull.