I was sitting at supper, flanked by two children who each have wallowed their way into a deep, uncharted part of my heart. I was rounding out the day with a family who has become my own, after birthday celebrating and catching up and laughing and drinking coffee. I was feeling flat out happy to be alive, to be breathing and to be seeing and laughing, again. I was wading through the effervescent warmth of love and fear, the needed friction of a life, caught up in a strange sadness to be leaving them, to be going back to a world that feels a little wild and messy and unknown, a world that isn’t quite home.
And then, the littler one, that blonde headed cackler, looked me in the eye and said,
I have a schecret to tell you.
She pulled my cheek to her chin and whispered,
I lobsh you.
I love you.
I love you, too.
And I had to sit still for just a second, to catch the breath that carried salvation on the whisper of a child. I had to listen for the sacred to settle at the very bottom of my toes, because I was, in that moment, bathing in some voice of the Divine.
In the same way, I felt salvation in the acres beside my home, in the warmth of an afternoon sun slipping from a sky while I walked with Abe through a field. Simple, warm, beautiful, home. I could feel the gratitude of a particular deliverance wade through me.
In these moments, I wonder about salvation. I wonder about God. If you have known me well over the past two years, you have watched me lose a faith so enmeshed in my personhood I seem to have lost my very self.
And, perhaps, this has been my greatest salvation. I have been silently angry, uncertain, apathetic, agnostic, and when all of that would leak out, I was apologetic, even repentant…because I did not value the doubt enough to give her space to breathe, to let her live, to let her grow.
These things we hide, these things we fear, they always find a way to be known.
So, when I felt love on the whisper of a three year old and in the warmth of the sun, I was surprised when I thought of Jesus, a being who I knew to bend toward the human, who no one else would, and hold the unknown again and again, and whispered, always, I love you.
I thought of the way true redemption rushes, like the light of the sun, into that which screams to be known but is hidden or abandoned or left alone. I thought of the way salvation is impulsive and compulsive to those who choose to be honest.
To me the courage of the whisper, the courage of the sun is proximity; we must come close, so close, that we touch the objects of our fear. We tend to spend our days drafting distance, to produce some sense of safety. However, we neglect the things, which need a whisper, which need the light the most; those scary, angry, ugly things, those sad, restless, painful things.
We can, continue, every day, for the rest of our lives to move away from those spaces. But perhaps to live, to really live is to seek, to find, and then to bend into those darkened hidden hollows and whisper on the very brow of the unknown.
And then, to move, to grow, to go close with the light of the fearless whisper…I love you.
I lobsh you.