When the baby stops breathing I feel the stone harden heavy in my chest.
I am not there, but on the phone I expel quick words and urgent instructions.
I feel the fear clutch.
A thousand unanswered questions.
A hundred expectant dreams.
Not yet fulfilled.
But I dream still.
I say the words, “speak life,” as a prayer. I throw my faith on the line and ask God to answer. My heart begs Him. Not this time.
And hope is the scariest word of all.
When the word comes back, it is empty. The air leaves flat with a sob.
Sometimes we can only be Mary. Look straight into His eyes and bury the wonderings into His scarred chest. Heart sore, but leaning. I don’t hide how I feel from Him.
If you had been here….
The baby does not live. Body too twisted.
I close my eyes and see him in heaven with perfect legs.
The baby does not live. Here.
But Zabibu does.
The five year old sister, too sick to move. The mother too poor to take her to the doctor. Too proud maybe to ask for help.
We rush her to the hospital. Doors open and heaven sees us amongst the mass of people waiting to be saved.
The women huddle together, gather courage, and hold hands through the ache. Like tiny birds they offer each other shelter.
And I think, this is what love looks like.
Zabibu grows healthy.
Her Muslim father sees the way the women take turns to offer an embrace, food, comfort.
A community who does not run from pain.
A miracle in the mess.
Somewhere all of us under the shadow of His wing.
Somewhere the stone becomes a seedand we dream