So easily it wakens her soft spirit, so quickly it frightens her in the constant night quiet of our home. Hard rain beads pound her West facing window, quickening her heart, shaking her established rest.
I'm often not quick to attend to our children as far as night whining is concerned. Unless cries escalate, my hope is they will learn to self-sooth; find strength in God when alone in God's presence; rest on the foundation of a home that is built upon both peace and trust.
This morning though, I respond.
I hear her sighs. They speak simply of interrupted exhaustion. Exhaustion that shouldn't be awoken. She will fall back asleep within moments if I let her.
But I can't help myself.
This act of soothing is far more for me than for her.
It's no longer about the beating down of hard winter rain but a response to something that calls for touch. A sacred act of assurance, both for her and for this self.
The click of her bedroom door opening sends her upright and the waning whimpering increases as I make my way bedside and begin caressing her thin hair and grazing her winter worn cheeks with these cool hands.
Yesterday was Jake's first day with our family after seven 12 hour shifts which, if we're not intentional to curb, leave us all a bit disconnected. He is the constant beckoning force in our home calling for play and rest. When he's not present the girls deeply miss their Papa and I... I often find myself in full operation mode without a caller of rest. It's me, the girls, our commitments, our home. Go.
Since Friday I have intentionally not made time to sit and pray specifically for the healing of those caught in the steel grip of pain as a result of this most devastating act of violence.
I have an "off" switch and that is where it has been for the last five days. Emotions, information, wonders, pain, confusion - off.
I've had commitments to fulfill, children to love, friends and family to embrace, savor, love.
Even the thought of increasing my awareness to encompass both the tragedy and the littleness of our world in the right now was too much for me to entertain. So I switched my awareness switch off and intentionally set my gaze upon the immediate, the tangible, the progression of Advent, the impending Solstice.
Yesterday morning, after five days of silence I pushed the radio button on and listened to Morning Edition for the first time since the shooting.
Yesterday morning, in the midst of candy making and coffee brewing I turned my awareness on and quickly found myself leaning into Jake's present arms, capsized with a surge of welling grief and what-ifs.
I heard myself ask questions I have never-before allowed myself to truly entertain, "How safe are we?" "In my practice and belief of pacifism, what does safety look like in our lives with these two girls we have been given responsibility over?" "What does protection for/over them look like?"
And I began to whimper.
Letting soft loose tears wander as I began to allow myself to imagine.
Imagine the loss of mothers, who not so long ago held their children at their breast to nourish, give way to a physical life that they no longer can touch, console, comfort in the nights when whimpers were sighed.
Imagine the life of Mary, who held her infant, Jesus, at her breast to give way to a physical life that we no longer can touch but who has covered us with a sacred hope in the nights when our whimpers are sighed, our grief is too heavy, the possibilities are too much.
Imagine the possibilities.
It's all too much to gather in one breath, one thought.
So I respond to her soft whimpers this morning. I let responsibilities to time pass by. I kiss her winter worn cheeks once again. Hoping, praying, trusting for another opportunity to do so, even if in response to a soft night rain whimper.
Why can’t you hear my silence?
Your ears, grasping at nothing at all,
slowly realize the futility of their endeavor,
And detach themselves from your heart.
Now, my soul is shouting for a shoulder
To lay its broken pieces upon.
And all you hear
Is a tiny whimper of “Hold me”.
- Jordan Butler