Carrying candles back to my bath, two votives resting on a pale yellow plate, freshly lit and newly burning, I cupped my hand just before them so that the wind from walking wouldn’t zap their flames.
As I shielded that light from incoming air I saw my children.
They’re lit and burning free, just became so, and my hand there is allowing them to wear that wick down some. It’s allowing them to really get going. It’s providing a sturdy buffering wall.
Because now, in the dawning years, is when I’m able to shield and hedge them the best.
Drafts will come early and late. Hard blows have passed and will continue to. Sometimes it’s our own breath that does the blasting. Forgive us, God.
They will, at some points, have to deal with drafts that I cannot protect them from. They’ll get opportunities to handle, withstand, and provide protection for others, but not just yet.
Wanting them to burn wild and free as long as they are able – God you have got to help me in doing the hard work of blocking blows and loving all the while, all the days, for the longest haul.
Our homes are harbors of hearts.
For the first eighteen we get to have them tucked into the rooms of our houses, us hemming in all we can.
Us providing protection, pouring out, modeling goodness.
Oh God, help us.
My youngest son came to me a few days ago, holding out one of the few Fiesta bowls that haven’t gotten cracked yet, asking me to pour him his mini wheats. Four year old hands clasping ceramic, waiting for what was empty to be filled. And it’s the same thing…
A picture of parenting. Us filling bowls. Over and over. Us emptying bowls too, if we are being honest. Us placing all manner of things inside them.
What a colossal assignment.
To be purposed in it, is to be successful at it. Simply being awake, alert, open, intentional – with what we are doing and saying to our children – this will reap much fruit.
Asking for aid, seeking out wisdom, sitting down with the wise and knowing – shouldn’t be neglected but should be embraced. We’ve never raised a Sally before. We’ve never raised a Billy before. We’ve never raised an Aaron, or a Samantha, or an Andrew before. Fill in the names! We’ve never had a 2 year old, 10 year old, 17 year old, etc in our care before this time. So we need to wander around with those who have. At the least and minimum this will provide us a boost and an encouraging squeeze as we grind and pour.
And really…simply being prayerful in it, will also prosper much. It will prosper the most.
Those candles are lit right now to my right. Their flames are standing still, strong, true.
Only with You, God.
Let us be good shields and harbors.
Make us what we’re not. Give us what we need and don’t have. Be strong where we are weak.
And please, keep-their-fires-burning…