Cara and I have met multiple times online and once in person. She wrote this beautiful piece about babies and the kingdom of God. I just love it.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Long-Awaited Baby
As soon as I hear, I throw on a soft summer dress and fasten my shoes. I plan my route in my head as I go, thinking about where to park. I have never been to this hospital before, even though I’ve driven by countless times. It stands guard midway up the hill on which I live.
My heart is beating quickly as I drive, park and walk in my strappy shoes. I enter the hospital and ask after the birth center, receiving several sets of directions and taking three elevators before finding the room number I’m looking for.
I knock once, quietly.
The door opens and I see a friend who has become a father since I last saw him. His whole countenance has changed. He glows with love and hope and pure joy. He holds his little girl tenderly, but close, I wonder if I will get a chance to hold her, if he will be able to let go of her for a second, just 12 hours after her birth.
I greet my new mother friend, who looks tired and relaxed. This is the woman who agreed to meet me for brunch on Superbowl Sunday, who let me hold a corner of her sorrow over hope miscarried. This is the woman who creates beauty and emotion with words. She has now conspired with God and her husband to create something entirely different.
They are not yet sure of the name. This seems right to me, since she’s still so new to this world. There are so many meaning-laden names in the Bible, names that help us remember what God did. It takes time to hear from God, to bear the weight of a decision which will last a whole life.
Although I am not sure it will happen, my friend asks me if I want to hold her. I wash my hands, taking my time, working between my fingers before opening my arms.
She is asleep, light as a feather. Each feature is delicately formed, so newly exposed to light and air. The room is hushed, no signs of the great travail that has so recently occurred. No sign of the struggle which forced her out of the only home she had known.
I am filled with awe as I take her in. How can so much be hidden inside such a tiny person? How much to discover, to delight in, to wonder at? There is so much that we do not know, that we will never know.
I am looking at an answer to prayer, I know. Mine, and those of many others. I am looking at a mystery, a masterpiece carefully crafted.
I leave this family, newly enlarged, to their naming rituals, to their rest. I can’t help but feel elation all the way down to my toes. She’s here at last!.The one we’ve been waiting for is here.
Cara Strickland is a freelance writer and food critic based in the Pacific Northwest. She can often be found writing at carastrickland.com.