Sunday, 3 July 2016


There's a song we used to sing the Guides to sleep to at summer camp. 

"Protect me, O Lord, for my boat is so small/protect me, O Lord, for my boat is so small/the sea is so big and my boat is so small/protect me, O Lord."

The fisherman's prayer. Small boats in a big ocean; small tents in a big field. Either way; it's a big sky and we are very tiny. 

And I'm reminded of it sailing through this grief ocean. Mostly, it's a manageable ocean. The tide rises, the tide falls, and sometimes I rise with it, and other times I stay put and let it wash over me. 

There's the predictable waves. Significant dates. Poignant places. People who were frequent visitors to our home, now seen only occasionally. Big decisions; redecorating a bedroom, scattering ashes, sorting through the flotsam and jetsam of a child's life and deciding what to keep and what to pass on. Ebbs and flows; my boat caught in the currents and sailing where it needs to go, not necessarily where I want to be. But always somewhere beautiful. 

And then there are the tsunamis, the tidal waves which come from nowhere. Like the butterfly's wings causing hurricanes half a world away, from the other side of church a mother juggles child and feeding pump. 

And I am knocked sideways. Memories of so many days doing the same. Dancing with a child and untangling the tubes, standing up and shuffling sideways; a special twist knowing just how far to move to avoid dislodging anything (and a hundred memories more of getting it wrong, of accidental disconnections or unintentional tube-ectomies. Knowing just how to flick the shoulder so the tube slides sideways and doesn't catch on the elbow or handlebar, Remembering to smile graciously at those who rush in to help and pull things the wrong way, genuine thanks for those who know to rest the pump the right way up. And my heart aches. It aches to juggle everything just one more time. It aches for the time my child was small enough to do it with ease, and it aches with the still present physical aches from the years when she was too big, but we did it anyway. And it aches for the tiny baby, for the new family, for knowing what their future may hold. 

I am fragile today. Protect me, O Lord. 


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