For A Moment

purple flowerToday, I walked through the halls of the hospital thinking of you.

I imagined your sweet face, your hand inside my own and your delicious chubby cheeks.  I imagined your laugh, the sound of its melody, the lilt, the depth and the way it would have indelibly melted my heart in its persistence. I imagined you with me—snuggling on the couch together, kissing my face with sucker sticky and me telling you “no you may not get that delightful whatever from the dollar bin” for the umpteenth time.

And for a moment…

You. Were. Here.

If only for a moment.

And then I turned into another hallway and I thought of you.

I imagined your sweet face, your weathered hand holding mine and your chubby cheeks of a particular Romang variety soft against the pressing of my own. I imagined your laugh, the sound of its depth right from the bottom of your belly, the wheeze that playfully came with it and the way it indelibly melted my heart with its persistence. I imagined you with me—hugging me gently, your face crinkly and worn if only to better show the depth of your happiness as you smiled gently over the antics of our sassy Sophia-girl or patiently listened to story after story from my verbose little mouth, making me feel as if I was the only one on earth.

And for a moment…

You. Were. Here.

If only for a moment.

But then life and other hallways come wrestling in…

A blood clot in my lungs.

And the internal litany of “Could I be more of a mess, more of a risk, more of a complete, ‘Holy crap, Sara, could you be any more complicated?'” But even in the questions, in the sheer ridiculousness of it all, in the inevitable disappointment of a bigger mess, I found my lips slowly curling upward into my Daddy’s smile.

I smiled because the deeper the mess, the more I know the very contour of His face.  I smiled because even in the crappy and the complicated, He holds me, loves me and still sees fit to use me.  I smiled because I know the grand and glorious secret of pain and loss and messy…

I get to know my Jesus more in the rough and tumble hallways then in the safety of the little comfortable room I’ve made for myself.

And really isn’t that just it?

The one thing we miss in or anger and fist flailing and outrage at life’s imperfection? That our pain is a window into the heart of the Father and the face of His Son? One that prompts us and prepares us to stand back and love the world a little differently?

So that when she comes in tired and worn to gather your insurance information and says, “I lost my husband 14 months ago and my daughter is a wreck…” you catch her tears with your own as you answer back, “I lost my Daddy in July…” And suddenly you can just listen to all her hurt and pain and give her this as she leaves, “You are doing an amazing job, sweet mama.” A tiny something so that when she walks out the door through which she came, her shoulders can be just a bit higher.

Or when you are lying in your hospital bed two days ago, bored and annoyed at one more something, you actually have room to hear a sweet girl when she says, “My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for a year and I wonder if…” So you tell her your story of loss and life and that God can make the most beautiful things out of that which hurts the most. You give her the heart of your messy and you cry a little when she grabs your hand and says, “Thank you for giving me hope.”

Or when you turn squarely into another hallway where you miss your Daddy and your almost April baby, you can meet the tears with something different than in years past. Because this year, you can imagine his hand holding hers, his face pressed to her chubby little cheeks or his wheezy laugh blending in tune with her three-year-old cackle.

And for a moment…

You. Are. There.

If only for a moment…

On the day I found myself walking through hospital hallways, dreaming of heaven and thinking of you.

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