Tuesday, May 28, 2019

god the parent...

Clean up day. The sidewalk at the front of the house is stacked with boxes, an old chair, and dismantled cupboards. The pile of junk is shrinking by the hour. At this rate, the pickup truck won't have to come tomorrow morning. While reorganizing the stack to keep the sidewalk clear, a young man in a plaid shirt, jeans, and a peaked cap approaches. He asks, somewhat disbelieving if he can take the cupboards away. I assure him he would be doing me a favor but I don't have a crowbar for him to dismantle them. He hurries off down the street telling me to hold them as he will be right back.

A few minutes later, bending on one knee and rearranging the cupboards, I spot a pair of very little running shoes standing before me. Looking up and staring me in the eye is a two-foot-high replica of the young man who left a few minutes earlier. I catch my breath -- the same blond hair sticking out under the ball cap, the plaid shirt, and the smallest pair of blue jeans I have ever seen. Yet, I think this can't be his child, the young man hardly looks beyond child-age himself.

As he re-arranges the cupboards. I make eye-level conversation with his replica. The child is a bit shy but surprisingly responsive. I ask him his name. He murmurs, "Gerrit". And the young man is indeed his Daddy. Incredible, either I am as old as antiquity, or parents are younger now. Surely I didn't look this young when I had my four children in my early and mid-twenties. Yet, I must have been near his age.

Finally, with a couple of cupboard doors in one hand and the child's hand in the other, I watch them head home -- two silhouettes backlit by the evening sun. Their elongating shadows ripple the sidewalk. The father skips, adjusting his steps to little steps. The tiny jeans bulging out cause a waddle. Diapers, without a doubt.

I wonder at the miracle, of kids having kids and of what the great spirit in her wisdom trusts us with. The child looks up to the father, maybe asking him a question. He knows his Daddy has the answer, yes, all the answers. He is supposedly god-wise and totally to be trusted. This young parent in blue jeans, plaid shirt, and ball cap is the beloved...