I wake up in the dark to the cries of my one-year old demanding to be held. I groan, wondering what time it is, feeling like I’ve barely slept and whycan’tshejuststayasleepwhenI’msotired?? I roll over to “accidentally” wake the man who sleeps beside me – maybe he’ll go get her. But he’s not there. I hear Little One’s cries turn to delightful gibberish as she already rests in her daddy’s arms.
“He is so good with her,” I think sleepily, smiling a bit as I snuggle into warm covers.
It’s a phrase people usually say about dads, almost as if they are surprised, unwittingly implying he is not a primary caretaker or go-to comforter. I find myself saying it about him, too, with the purest of intentions, usually in a bragging tone (he is a good one). But this time I catch myself.
He isn’t good with her, I think. He’s with her and it is good. And that’s a huge difference.
She cries and he’s there.
She laughs and it’s most likely because he’s there.
He’s there and she’s fed.
Little footsteps patter to a hiding spot and there he is.
He’s there. He is with her and it is good.
She wouldn’t expect anything else at this point.
Last night he went outside to simply move the car to the garage in advance of the [pathetic] blizzard, and she was deeply concerned. “Daaaa! Daaaaa!!” she called, neck straight and erect, eyes glued to the door. It opened and she scrambled off my lap, sprinting to greet him. He was back with her.
The darkness sinks around my sheets and the jabbering child quiets as the daddy sings Amazing Grace.
How sweet the sound.
No, really. How sweet the sound of grace so amazing and so heart changing.
My consciousness begins to fade into sweet sleep as I hear, “I’m with you, too. And it’s good.”
My heart receives it. Hears it. Absorbs the distinction.
My God, He’s not good with me. He’s with me and it’s good.
We are approaching Advent and my heart is growing with anticipation a little more each day. I whisper, “He’s coming! He’s coming!” as Christmas day approaches, but my heart responds, “He’s here! He’s here!”
"O come, O come Emmanuel," my heart cries with all the world aching and groaning and hoping for peace. We cry out in the night. We cry out in the day. Headlines flicker and we cry, “O come, Emmanuel! Be with us! Healer! Restorer! Giver of peace! Be with us! Be with them! Be with me!"
And He whispers, “I am with you. And it is good.”
All is grace, we must remember. Even the brokenness. As we look and we hope and we cry out, we can remember – though the night is dark, though the pain is real, though the suffering is more than we can fathom, He is with us and it is good.
Maybe sometimes that’s all we can say. We don’t, won't have answers. We say the wrong thing. We aren’t sure what we think, where we stand, how to stand. There is so much confusion and so much pain and too many words already and really, aren’t we just wanting someone to step in and stop the madness??
Maybe we can only bravely, barely, faithfully whisper, “He is here and it is good,” and if that truth can resonate, if it can echo in our hearts – maybe, just maybe it will echo beyond us. Maybe the believing, the hoping, the whispering when others scream will be an amazing grace that can save a wretched world.
Maybe it can just save me.
Little One calls for, reaches for her daddy, and rests in the full assurance that he is with her.
May my heart enter that rest, enter that hope, enter that peace. Questions may not be answered. Darkness may still pervade. Pain may still ache. But He is with us.
And it is good.