One of Katherine’s favorite teachers told me that she was the most “God-besotted” child she’d ever seen. I love that expression. It has stuck with me ever since.“Besotted” connotes a state of either stupid, muddled drunkenness, or one of total infatuation. Katherine was just plain punch-drunk in love with God. Willing to be a ‘fool for Christ’ when it was exceedingly uncool ....like late middle school, early high school, for instance. She memorized this poem for an English class:
God’s Grandeur (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
That first line has been playing around in my head as I walk from hotel to hospital and back again. Spending too much time in a hospital makes going outside seem like getting glasses for the first time when you’ve been extremely near-sighted all of your life. Suddenly, you notice every leaf, wisp of cloud, and vibrant flower, like Eve waking up in the Garden. I realize that, as desperately as we human beings try, we will never fully succeed in ruining the creation because of the innate life-renewing force beneath and behind it all. The world still vibrates with the mystical tingling electricity of its’ Maker, fired by the gentle warmth of his ineffable Spirit. “The wind blows where it may...”
Now He flies low to earth, and gathers us under his wings of protective love. I felt this last night when I pulled the curtain around and snuck in bed with my little wounded one. She kept beckoning me with her good left hand, gracefully circling me closer and closer until I couldn’t resist. Gingerly, carefully, I stationed myself above the catheter, below the ventilator on a tiny sliver of sheet. She took my hand and placed it on her shaking chest, pounded by violent shivering from the ice water coursing through her veins. I tickled her arm with my free hand. She reached up and tickled mine as I pressed her chest. I put one leg over hers. She put one over mine, cast and all, making the Mommy/Kat sandwich that was our favorite childhood snuggle. I hummed one of our baby songs. This scripture entered my head:
The LORD your God is with you... He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Thinking about it this morning, I wondered how many times I’ve been one of those to whom Jesus referred when he said, “...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under wings, but you were not willing.” (Matt. 23:37) Squirming out of his lap like my ‘busy one’ tried to do with me every bedtime, I have run off to get in trouble on my own. Why does it so often take broken wings to make us rest in our parent’s arms?
May this Sabbath be a day of rest for all of us.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge...