Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Letter to Perry

Dear Perry,

What do I tell you about our vacation? I guess I would have to ask you if we left you or  if you came with us.

For us, you were with us every step. I never understood the monk who stated he prayed every minute, even as he talked, but I do now. You are the whisper in my mind, the ever present fullness of my heart that verges between joy and sadness.

I wrote you name in the sand on foreign shores. I watched as the waves carried the letters away, ephemeral. I understood as the ocean gently erased the letters of your name, that had I written it higher it too would have been caressed by the waves or the rain of a latter day. But the sand that formed your name is still there, it just swirled beneath the waves. I wrote it quietly each time, many did not see your letters, but they were there. In this way I made you a part of each place. Both of my children were there. I wished I had taken a picture, but it was hard to capture Emily and your letters. The foam in the waves sent her dancing away or the glint of a shell caught her eye.

I saw your face in the form of other children, an older baby that wore the same swim trunks I bought for you and a dark haired boy wearing a tuxedo (your father spotted him first at dinner). I wished I could have seen you wear them, and perhaps struck up a conversation with that other mother when we held babies that looked at each other like poor mirrors, delighted nonetheless.

We had a room that could have held you both, and a tub was there to bathe you in. We could have sat together on the balcony as we shared time together before the others woke. I would have carried you into the fort at San Juan, slowly winding up behind your father and Emily. Emily peering at you from her high perch and telling Daddy to wait for us as his long legs stretched out farther. You Father would have been exasperated before dinner as I tried to dress you both, or perhaps taken turns as you disrupted dinner. Or maybe you slept quietly in my arms as your Sister did a few years ago.

We slept better as the waves rocked us, I can only imagine that it would have lulled you too. Instead of you waking us occasionally, your Sister did. She had a few bad dreams were she cried out and we tried to quiet her before the neighboring cabin awoke. But we all slept deeper than we have in many months.

But your Sister did OK, even with a few disruptions. She single handedly used up all the available beads in the HAL fleet, and I imagine you might have been the object of at least one creation if you were here. You were in her family picture that she drew, although you were crying because you were in heaven and not with us here. She seemed confused at the concept that you could be happy without us, as we are not completely happy without you.

I can only imagine there would have been less 'good' formal pictures, with one more person to capture. As it was we didn't buy any. Neither your Father or I wanted any without you, we decided to wait and go to Miss Mary who could find a way to include you, if only as a picture on the end table and a toy in Emily's hands. I guess we did not want to include a stranger in on this plan. I thought about a picture of just Emily and Daddy, but even that did not hold enough sway.

I thought about you as I ran. I passed three miles with a hypnotic stride as I remembered bringing you home. Tears mixed with sweat and no one was any wiser.

But we laughed. Emily figured out how to turn off the lights to the bathroom outside the door, and when Daddy hogged the bathroom she clicked the switch. "That's funny" she giggled. I could imagine you laughing socially with us, even if you wouldn't have gotten the joke.

We ate. You would have liked the chilled fruit soups and the mashed potatoes.

We played. You might have splashed with us in the waves or threw sand as your sister made castles.

We danced. You would have probably snoozed in your stroller or in the carrier on my back.

But you were there to us... I just wish I could know if you watched us.

In moments like this, I wonder with a God who created matter and time, if somehow you did share it with us.

I wonder if in Heaven, after we all go home, if we will be allowed to live some of these times together. No missing pieces.

Or if we will be allowed something much better.

Maybe it will be like when you go into the wilderness, and take dozens of pictures of the first animal you see, thinking this might be it and the intense excitement of seeing that animal that you have seen only in pictures. Then you wander down the dirt trail farther from the center, and wildlife is everywhere. You wonder at the fact that you stayed so long on that first experience; when so much more was waiting beyond the crowd of people that was surrounding the very first. The majority of tourists weren't venturing any further from the safety of the paved path, they (and you if you would have stayed) missed the best.

Perhaps earth and heaven are like that.

I hope you are wandering on dirt paths that take you to vistas that I can only imagine here, with colors that do not exist on Earth. I hope you are tasting flavors far better than those we can imagine. I hope you can hear and are perhaps singing celestrial music, the strains of which only geniuses hear in fading dreams and try to capture crudely in the sheet music of earthly symphonies.

I wish you happiness beyond measure, safety only God can give, and true joy that my primordial heart has had only glimpses of. Love beyond comprehension. An endless life that knows no true loss.

Yours forever through Christ,


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