Moody skies. A cliff. An abandoned stroller . . .
Who took the baby?
May I tell you a story?
On August 21st the solar eclipse will, in some locations, turn day into darkness. I wish you could know what the day means for our family.
On this day a year ago, an unwanted child was born to a drug-addicted mother and unknown father.
The parents would not cradle or feed or rock their baby girl.
They’d never be the metaphorical sun and moon watching over her world.
The baby, traumatized by Lithium withdrawal, could not settle and would not eat.
Our daughter, Rachel, agreed to work with her in the Neonatal Care Unit.
Love ignited their first moments together.
Rachel took this baby . . . into her heart.
Irresistibly drawn, she and her husband would rescue her, raise her, and nurture little Kiki into wholeness.
Perhaps Kiki sensed she’d been chosen, because she relaxed. She ate and slept. Her new responsiveness to love lit up the room.
Ongoing drug withdrawal consumed compassion, patience, and stamina.
During one night shift, tightly swaddled, Kiki could not bear to be touched, and I carried her around and around the house on a cushion. As with so many of our solutions, the pillow trick only worked once.
Weeks passed. Red-eyed and shaky with fatigue, Rachel and Damon agonized over her anguish. She shrieked and flailed.
“I’ve got you,” Damon would whisper, holding her close. “I’ve got you.”
Is this what it means to be chosen and cherished by God?
To be rescued, again and again—no matter what. To be made part of a family, given a new name.
Sometimes few words are needed. Touch is all.
Kiki’s suffering raged on.
Will the clouds part?
People who follow total eclipses wonder: Is our equipment good enough? Will the clouds part? We’ve come all this way . . . what if the wonder eludes us?
As caregivers, sometimes we miss glimmers of light when our loved one’s pain is vast and their progress, incremental.
We doubt our ability. God seems remote. Hidden.
Who will hold us and say, “I’ve got you.”?
We turn to “the man with starlight in his veins,” as writer Brian Doyle once called Jesus.
Then we offer ragged presence.
Chosen Again, Moonshadow Day
Kiki is thriving.
On the solar eclipse we’ll celebrate her first birthday . . . at the courthouse. We’ll witness the finalization of her adoption. She’ll be formally chosen, again, and for always, in a court of law . . .
. . . with all manner of declarations and testimonies, photos and signatures.
Can you imagine the hugging? No words needed. Touch is all.
Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?
“Moonshadow,” by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)