What is this lump in my throat?

A few weeks ago, a friend laid an unfinished poem called “Holding the Baby” at my feet and asked me to finish it. In the finishing of it, I rediscovered a little bit of awe and wonder about this big, sacred mystery we’re all living in. I hope what we created brings you a little awe and wonder, too. Here it is…

meaning

Photo Credit: Anneka S (Bigstock)

For weeks, our dog has pawed at the thawed out patchy yard. A mommy rabbit dug her birthing home under our fire pit. The bunnies couldn’t survive the tireless winter as it beat beyond the spring doorframe. We would bring Betsy in from the cold and make her drop one of the litter at our feet. Is it a mystery that she didn’t eat them? Is it foolish to believe that she was holding the babies as a mother of all creatures?

I hold babies too. All day long. Monday to Friday. 7:15 until the parents get off the commuter train and enter home life again. The infants speak with cries and drooling spittle. Their beginning words translate my heart into a life more understandable. They’re toothless and tongue-tied; they’re the hums and babbles of the generations going forward.

What is this lump in my throat?

Make me drop the poem at your foot.

Carry me. Listen to me.

This lump is time and cosmos.

This lump is the truth of the whole thing, gathered in my throat, leaving me speechless.

Holding the babies, they are me and I am them. My bones longer now, skin less supple, teeth come and gone and come again now yellowing, hair graying, held now in the arms of aging, still vulnerable, perhaps now more than ever.

Holding the babies, I hold myself, my once upon a time self, and my one day will be gone self. In the beginning, drooling spittle, our body so new we do not know we have lips; in the end, drooling spittle, our body so used we have lost control of our familiar lips.

Holding the babies, I hold innocence, hearts without wound. In their innocence, I recall my own innocence. I remember who I was purely, who I am vaguely, who I one day will be again hopefully. In their innocence, I bear witness to the good news, the promise of how beautiful it all really is, in the beginning, in the end.

This lump is time and cosmos.

This lump is the truth of the whole thing, gathered in my throat, leaving me speechless.

And the truth holds me gently, like a baby, dropping me eventually at the feet of Eternity, the wintertime of life giving way to the springtime of being.

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Loveable is available in paperback, digital, and audio and can be purchased wherever books are sold, so you can also purchase it at your favorite bookseller.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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