Light beyond daylight

We are at the fair, and the sun has disappeared below the treeline, so that the illumination from the rides has become our daylight. We are watching Caleb twirl and spin about in some contraption that his brothers are either too afraid or too small to ride, and which his parents are too old to endure. Eli tells me he has to go to the bathroom. We set off toward the restrooms, just me and Eli, which is his favorite. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, you see, so long as it is just him and me.

After the restroom we pass by one of those funhouses, the kind with moving floors and wobbly steps and distorted mirrors. “Can we go in?” Eli asks.

We go in. He is holding my hand, and then he is ahead of me, giggling, darting like a pixie over the spinning wheels set in the metal floor, between the punching bags strung up like a moving wall, up the steps fashioned for cleverer feet than mine. I try to keep from falling, and I hurry to keep up, but always he is ahead of me, just around a corner, going ever upward, laughing, laughing. It comes to me that this must be what the final road to Heaven is like, especially when one of your children has gone before you — a path that leads upward, your wobbly legs just barely carrying you the last mile of the way, and the sound, above you, of a child’s joyful laughter.

When we are outside I pull him into me and say, “I love you. Do you know that?”

“Yeah,” he says, “I know.”

No you don’t, little one. Not until you hear the laughter of your own child like angels singing, and feel your heart flowing over. And when you do, remember these two things: that I have loved you this way, and that God loves you even more, with love that is unshakable, unchangeable, unfathomable. Remember this great passion with which you are loved, and carry it with you into the darkness, and be not afraid.

Comments

  1. Emily

    This post brought to mind the words of Caitlin Flanagan in September’s The Atlantic: “…I had never loved anyone yet, because I was years away from having a child of my own, and until you’ve done that you’re just guessing about love, gesturing toward it, assuming that it’s the right name for a feeling you’ve had.” As a relatively new mom, I’m continually floored by this thing called love. I’m just now starting to grasp – in a very small way – the depth, breadth and height of the love of God. Thanks for taking me one step further in my understanding.

  2. Sulizano

    I have always loved your writing, ever since I first discovered it. This post demonstrates why.

    Love to you and your beautiful family, and I hope we meet someday on this planet.

    Suli

  3. Steve

    Continue to appreciate and learn from your writing. Thanks for inspiring me to start my own blog and get back to writing. It’s therapeutic.

  4. Jeff in NJ

    “And when you do, remember … that God loves you even more, with love that is unshakable, unchangeable, unfathomable. Remember this great passion with which you are loved, and carry it with you into the darkness, and be not afraid.

    Tomorrow, I am heading into some personal darkness. Only now I am reminded who I am and to whom I belong. And I am no longer afraid. … Thank you Tony for encouraging my wobbly faith and for all the blessings that God uses you to send to total strangers like me. –Jeff in NJ

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