Our daughter Sarah has been visiting this week with her family. She had her second child three weeks ago, and we were not sure if they would make the trip so soon after he was born, but things works out. But with all the summer’s comings and goings I did not fully appreciate what it might be like to have such a young baby in the house.
I deal in words and work with prose everyday, but something about a baby brings me to a quieter place. It silences me. Most of us find ourselves silences, stopped in our tracks by a tiny little human. We can just stop and watch a baby for a long time. He cannot speak but he is not utterly silent either because he makes all kinds of little noises. Whether he is staring at a light source or experimenting with large motor skills by swinging his arms in all directions he is intently murmuring to himself. A sneeze can shake him and hiccups seems to overcome his whole being. I remain mesmerized wondering what he sees or hears, what he needs or what he thinks. It is strange to be so absorbed by such a little creature. I never look at my watch; I lose track of my phone and don’t care. And I enter into a different world- a world of wonder, of questions with no answers, of spacious mystery.
I have a small picture in my office which is meant to serve as a reminder to me more than anyone else. It has a design with the words “Be here now.” Occasionally when I look up from my desk I remember to try to stay focused on this moment, now. This summer day with its mild seashore breeze and hot sun. This day with its predictable assignments and startling interruptions. This day here is all I need to know about life, and God. It holds all.
Sometimes that picture makes sense and I remember to stop and breathe and thank God for life itself.
This weekend Rev. Douglas Wheeler will be preaching on August 12th. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and served a church in Connecticut before becoming a pastoral counsellor at the Danielson Center at Boston University.
On a personal note:
I will be attending the Chautauqua institute for the next two weeks. Next week’s topic is “The Forgotten: History and Memory in the 21st Century” Speakers will include Sara Bloomfield from the Holocaust Museum, and Rev. Jesse Jackson. At night we will hear violinist Joshua Bell. In week 9 I will be teaching an afternoon class on “Themes in the Bible” in the special studies program. (It is my first time doing this so I hope some folks sign up for it.)
I go to this program every year because I get more preaching ideas in one week than I do anywhere else over a much longer time. It is compelling enough to make me leave Cape Cod and all of you in August. But I shall miss you.