Sunday, August 9, 2009

In My Father's Arms

For Kieran Reed Brahs, who reminded me how often God holds us in His arms.

“I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1

A stern word of rebuke to a two-year old very often inflicts a multitude of emotions in a grandmother’s heart. After all, we are constantly telling ourselves our grandchildren can do no wrong, and we shower them with far more doting affection than we ever did their parents. My father once said to my mother while gazing upon their first grandson, “There we are!” He saw within the newborn child a part of himself; a continuance, if you will, of his legacy here on earth. Our grandchildren are a precious gift, one that says if we didn’t get it right the first time, we most certainly will with this second chance so graciously given by God.

The day Kieran Reed received the rebuke was a typical day. He had walked the short distance from his house, as usual unbeknownst to his mother. It was a common ritual to visit Granny over a cup of sweetened tea heavily laden with milk. But on that particular day, I was attempting to conduct business over the phone and found him tugging at my pant leg and muttering some unintelligible words over and over again. Struggling to hear the gentleman at the other end, I gave Kieran “the look” and waved a shushing hand over the top of his head. He immediately retreated a few steps away, his face falling in dismay as I finally concluded my business and hung up the phone.

“Kieran,” I admonished. “Granny was trying to talk to that man!”

Now, if you’re a grandparent, you will understand the rush of emotion that washed over me the moment his tear-filled eyes looked up to mine. “Me wanted to talk to that man,” he innocently muttered.

At first, I laughed over the idea of putting a two-year old on the phone with someone I didn’t even know, the absurdity of it tickling me. But as I looked at my grandson and saw that his feelings had genuinely been hurt over the apparent slight, I scooped him into my arms and placed him in my lap. With his small arms wrapped tightly around my neck, and his soft downy cheek laid against mine, he rocked us back and forth as he poured out his disappointment into my ear. The brief interlude of love and compassion being exchanged soon ended with a giggling and once-again happy and content little boy. But, my heart lingered in that moment, and lingers there still.

A flood of memories swept over me that day, of times when my own “feelings” were hurt. There have been many times of standing as if all alone with no arms to run into and pour out my sorrows, and of retreating to a corner of my self in despair. But then, as I look up with tear-filled eyes, a hand reaches out to wipe them from my face, and strong and able arms enfold me in a warm and loving embrace. As I did with my grandson, God also does with us. When we feel that we are alone with no one to understand, He takes us in His arms, and laying His cheek against ours, gently rocks us back and forth while we pour out our despair into His attentive ear. His love and compassion are without depth and height, and His desire for His children to bring their troubles to Him has no boundaries. His soothing voice and comforting words calm our troubled hearts and minds as He consoles us and returns us to peace.

As my grandson was content in my rocking embrace, I, too, am content in my Father’s arms when I am there. It’s a brief glimpse and a small taste of what’s to come.

If you don’t mind, Lord, I’ll linger here for just another moment or two.

Copyright 2006 Karen L. Brahs

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