Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eighth Tuesday

20 minutes ago marks the moment, eight weeks ago, Ben was lifted from my womb.

Eight weeks.

A day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a moment to our God. My son has worshipped my Father in person for eight weeks. Eight thousand years.

He knows the answers to secrets I long to understand. While I "see in a mirror dimly" and "...then [will see] face to face," knowing in part, he "knows fully..." (1 Corinthians 13). My little son knew nothing of the beautiful days on earth, and perhaps, when I meet him one day, will marvel that any of us ever feared leaving this place-- the glory of our most beautiful days falling so terribly short of the most ordinary parts of heaven.

And do I only consider the existence of God and heaven as a comfort? Am I delusional? One of the intellectually impoverished for whom heaven is an escape from this world of limitations and sadness? Or am I more like those who tend to believe in aliens, asserting that it is arrogant of us to believe that we are the only forms of intelligent life in all of the universe? Do I need heaven to exist so that I can confirm the hope of my salvation, or do I suddenly just need it to exist for the hope of holding my son again?

Does it matter?

Today is breathtakingly beautiful in Georgia. I'm sitting in the grass underneath a hundred year old pecan tree in my yard, the wind whipping my hair around my face, and the sound of a rooster crows nearby. I can hear the screech of a hawk occasionally, birds singing, and dogs barking in the distance, along with the sound of a lawn mower down the road and hammering on a roof-top. These are the summer sounds of childhood, and I wonder if I will spend the rest of my life only longing for Benjamin to see days like these. To be distracted from the splendor of this gorgeous place by my longing for my child. In my imagination, his strawberry blonde head pops up from the trucks he pushes through my yard when he hears the sound of the train in the distance-- the same train I grew up hearing. He says, "Train!" or "airplane" or "dog" when he hears these things that get heard and unnamed by me. In my mind, today I take pictures of him as he naps on a blanket in the yard. In my mind, his cousin Ella will lean her red head over his crib and stare at him, reaching out a jelly-sticky hand to touch his face, and her mother will say, "Ella, gentle! Can you say hello to your baby cousin Ben? Say, 'hey Ben'"....

But instead, his focus is on higher things. He stands before a throne that I cannot imagine. He enjoys the knowledge of the Holy, face to face. My son sings, "Majesty" and sees Him. Before he was born, I cried out to God that my son would know Him, and that he would hear the call to worship. I knew that he was a worshipper-- I knew it. I knew that my son's primary calling in life would be to praise God. I had no idea that he would be called to do it in person. What an honor for him; what a gift. In my mind, I can see him there...

"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.
So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD " And he worshiped the LORD there. (I Samuel 1)

I asked the Lord for Ben. I cried out to Him and He did what I asked: He gave me a son. And I rejoiced! And I dedicated him to the Lord. For as long as he lived.

And he worshipped the Lord there. Hannah left Samuel at the temple after she had weaned him (but oh God, she got to wean him... ). And he worshipped the Lord there.

And her song?

Then Hannah prayed and said,

"My heart exults in the LORD;

My horn is exalted in the LORD,

My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD,

Indeed, there is no one besides You,

Nor is there any rock like our God.

Boast no more so very proudly,

Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;

For the LORD is a God of knowledge,

And with Him actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are shattered,

But the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,

But those who were hungry cease to hunger.

Even the barren gives birth to seven,

But she who has many children languishes.

The LORD kills and makes alive;

He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

The LORD makes poor and rich;

He brings low, He also exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust,

He lifts the needy from the ash heap

To make them sit with nobles,

And inherit a seat of honor;

For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S,

And He set the world on them.

He keeps the feet of His godly ones..."

1Samuel 2

How like Job Hannah sounds here.

I imagine that she had so many emotions on the day that she left her son with Eli. He no longer lived in her home-- his job was to minister to the Lord before Eli the priest. He kept the lamp of the Lord in the temple, where the ark of the covenant was. What an amazing job. But still-- she saw him once a year. He was no longer her baby son. He did not live under her roof.

She gave him over to the Lord.

So did I.

I cannot imagine. One of my descendants is standing before the throne of God, singing and worshipping and learning. Can he hear me when I sing to that same God? Does he know that I worship him, too? Does he know that I prayed that God would use his life for His highest good? That I do not understand what happened? Does he know?

Sigh. It matters, but the questions are futile for now. For now, I will simply enjoy this, my eighth Tuesday without him, and will pray that God will be glorified. I cannot resist Him or stay angry with Him. He is so good. He heals my heart. He is perfect in all of His ways.


Mary said...

How can it be that the tears roll in each time I read your beautiful words about this precious one. I want to imagine him worshipping, enjoying heaven, learning to sing like his Mom and his Uncle Nate - that's the only place I can rest. My heart doesn't ache quite as badly when I see him completely restored with a sweet smile on his face. We can only imagine. . .
Thanks for sharing this, Sam.
I love you!

Samantha said...

i love you mary-- thank you for your tears. they mean so much to me--

Sherdonna Denholm said...

i cant wait to meet Ben...i miss you, my friend.

Susan Boone said...

Your words are like a balm to my soul right now...isn't this process so strange and amazing? Aching for our sons, but realizing at the same time that they are praising God and reveling in His presence forever? We long for the earthly experience they will never have--to watch them live life here with us, but at the same time we realize that He is giving them something infintely more good...
Thank you for these words. Bless you, sweet Sam.

Samantha said...

what an amazing and comforting thought: our sons worshipping together!! bless you, dear friend.

and i can't wait for you to meet him either, sherd.