When a wounded child climbs into its mother’s lap, it draws so much strength from the mother’s presence that its own wound becomes insignificant. So too with us when we climb into the lap of our great Mother God. Our crisis soon domesticates and comes into a peaceful perspective, not because it goes away, but because the presence of God so overshadows us.
When I read this in Forgotten Among the Lilies, I thought of Eliot, next to Bryce, slipping at the table one Sunday, nearly falling to the floor but stopping as his ear clipped the chair. Hard enough to sting. Hard enough to crack the little eruption that is a child’s pain magnified by surprise and other people’s company.
I had one of his arms to lift him. Maggie came over to pick him up because he was crying by then. He complained about the pain and Maggie took him in her arms, his head to her shoulder, and convinced him by her hug that he would live through it.
He calmed as long as she held him. Then he cried again, trading his mom for his dad. David, master of redirection with the boys that he is, turned Eliot’s attention with a high-pitched question.
The image of a child in pain. The image of a mother, then a father, and a few onlookers. It seemed like these words were easily seen, like wounds were becoming something else.