A First Thing
It’s the image in my mind when I awaken, these days. A small child, perhaps age three, sits in the corner and listens. Bigger people are talking about some fantastic destination:
Maybe a tropical beach.
Maybe the zoo.
The child–let’s say a boy, with blue eyes and straw hair–sits and listens in wonder. Can there be such a thing as a place created for joy?
Now the adults are gathering their things. Coats. Hats. Pocketbooks. Keys to lock the door.
(Or to unlock it?)
The child picks up a Matchbox car–a 1972 El Camino, in case it matters, metallic green like a summer beetle–and pushes it around one loop, then another, tracing a figure eight on the wooden floor.
It’s a sideways figure eight. Like the symbol for infinity.
As he pushes the metallic green El Camino he wonders, though he doesn’t yet have the words for the wondering, whether infinity and eternity are the same. Decades later he will recall the ghost of this wondering.
It will provoke a smile.
The adults are moving to the door. An older girl goes with them. The boy begins to weep as they file out, headed for the place created for joy. Tears burn his cheeks, slipping toward the jumping-off point of his chin.
And then, one of the big people turns to him. Leans down.
Extends a hand.
Speaks: Well, aren’t you coming, too?
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:23-26 (NASB)