I go to Guatemala and a secret goes with me.
So new, so delicate, so unexpected I barely even whisper it to myself. I unwrap it on my birthday.
On the day I mourn half a lifetime lived without my mother, I hear Jesus whisper, “Life!”
Always He remakes. Always He knits together what is separated, fractured, to create wholeness. And isn’t this just like Him? To be going about His beautiful business while we go about ours, oblivious. Quietly in the secret places He works and plans and prepares a future for us that is spun from our DNA and His Spirit and His eyes never sleep and His hands are never idle and He admires His handiwork and grins to Himself in the wee hours while we sleep, and whispers His eternal refrain, “it is good. It is good. It is very good.”
And I am His creature who co-creates life with Him and when He ushers me into the secret it is on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday on the morning of my thirty sixth birthday and I will never forget how we laughed together – me at the unexpectedness of it all and Him at my surprise. And I wrap my arms around myself and know that the mother who isn’t there to wrap hers is wrapping them tight, tight nonetheless. Because she knows His goodness firsthand and sings with the Seraphim – “Glory, glory, glory.”
And in my upside down house I stand on holy ground right there between the open jar of peanut butter and crusts left over from breakfast.
A week later I go to Guatemala and the secret goes with me.
With the sun rising above the glinting jet planes I sit at my departure gate and do what I always do before I fly; I call my dad in South Africa. I catch him on his knees in his study. The fine line between his laughter and his tears is always blurred as he prays for my journey and I store up his words in my heart. His voice echoes all around me and cups me safe in the embrace of the Father that bridges the ocean between us.
And I don’t care what the other travelers think as slow tears make their way down my face at the long-distance blessing. He prays for DNA to be imprinted with this first missions trip. He prays for cells to be intertwined with service. He prays courage for us both.
And I know there is a heart of darkness that would eat the world if it could. I know about loss and separation and homesickness. I know there is poverty smeared across the faces of children and stamped into the hearts of the wealthy that only grace can erase. I know we live in a broken world that groans as it waits to be rescued.
But I believe rescue will come.
I believe it is already coming.
And sometimes it is heralded by the dividing of two cells. There is life and light in the darkness. And the darkness has not understood it.
And the darkness cannot put it out.
So I fly on the wings of the morning, His grace, and my father’s prayers to introduce the third of my children to that most sacred of opportunities – seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.
And I write it all down -our story – so that one day this baby will be able to read it all for him – or her – self.