Sometimes light surprises. It dances into a moment in time and everything else, all the pieces of darkness and pain, fade in the presence of light.
I was sitting on a couch with a little blond-headed four year old on my lap. She was screaming for her Mama. I was talking softly and quietly, “Mama will be back, Auntie Tasha is here right now to take care of you. But Mama is coming back. She always comes back.”
The screaming stopped. She tilted her head at me, “Mama comes back?”
I laughed. “Mama always comes back for you.”
The rest of them, the curly-haired boy with glasses, the chocolate skinned smiling girl, the pint-sized tough boy with the hair that shines red in sunlight, they all appeared and climbed up on the couch around me.
“Should I read you all a story?” I asked.
The biggest boy jumped up. “I’ll get one!”
Within seconds a Bible story-book was on my lap. The blond flipped it open. Pages ruffled and then she held it up. “I know this one, read this one!”
The children sat in hushed silence as I read the story of Moses. Pulled from the water, a baby who became a prince and eventually saved the people of Israel.
Then the light. The light that left me laughing and chased away the darkness that had been pressing in.
The littlest boy tugged on my sleeve. “I was a baby once,” he said it so seriously, with eyebrows furrowed and thought lines running his three-year-old face.
“Yes, you were,” I nodded and pulled him close for a squeeze, “I remember. I was living in Haiti when you came and your Mama and Daddy sent us a picture and do you know what I thought?”
The little ones bounced, “What? What?” They almost shouted in excitement.
“I thought, that is the most precious little thing and I can’t wait to get home and kiss his little nose.” I pulled him close and dropped my voice to a whisper, “And when I got home that’s just what I did.” Then I placed a feathered kiss to his nose to emphasize as he giggled.
“What about me?” The blond on my lap had turned around fully and took my face in her hands. “Did you know me when I was a baby?”
“Oh, my, yes!” And told the story of the phone call from her Mama and Daddy about the little tiny baby girl at their house. How we were driving home and changed directions and how I walked in and scooped her up as soon as possible, snuggling her close and saying, “Oh, what a beautiful little darling.” And of course, kissing her nose as well.
Two more stories came next of phone calls and visits and little babies getting kissed on the nose (for every baby should get a nose-kiss, should they not?)
Then the biggest boy tugged and the next question came. The question about the next sister bigger who was gone to school. Did I know her when she was a baby? And the breathtaking beauty entered my heart and I said, softly, “Oh, yes. I did.” And told the story of the little baby with big eyes who visited my house and how I held her and loved her.
The tiny ones around me could not know, yet, the outpouring of grace that filled that story, but someday, perhaps they’ll catch a glimpse. I’ll tell you a piece so can agree with me in wonder: Even her Mama and Daddy didn’t know that little girl when she was a baby. She was born in a home where she was not safe and a neighbor lady would hold her and pray over her, that God would protect this precious little one and somehow, someday, give her the chance to know Him. And that neighbor lady had no idea that one day she would be in a court room watching that same little girl become her niece.
But that is the glory of the God we know and each of the little ones around me were miracles of the same magnitude. Because all four of them were adopted.
Then came the part that made me shake with laughter, mirth spilling while I tried to contain it. The big boy with glasses, turned his serious face to mine, “And what about Grace and Anna? What about when they were babies?”
Grace and Anna, the two biggest sisters, who weren’t adopted. “Actually,” I attempted to stay serious, “I didn’t know them when they were babies. They were already pretty big girls when I met them.”
All four sets of eyes widened in shock and the four year old on my lap shook her head in sorrow, “Poor Grace and Anna. Poor, poor, Grace and Anna. They don’t have a baby story from Tashe.”
And the three year old boy with hair shining red put a hand on my shoulder, “You mean you did not kiss their noses when they were babies?”
And as I shook my head, a pair of chocolate eyes caught mine and white teeth shone against dark skin and she said, “Maybe my Mama kissed their noses?”
I nodded solemnly, “Maybe, darling. Your Mama is their Aunt too, so maybe she kissed their noses.”
Everyone sighed in relief and the book was picked back up and the biggest boy said, insistently, “Let’s read my favorite story of all! It’s about Jesus on a cross and he’s saving people.”
And I thought what a perfect story to read. Let’s read about the man who died to redeem the brokenness of this world. The one who gave us this light that chases the darkness away.