Thursday, September 15, 2016

It's not about bubblewrap.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Except for the two-year-old singing to herself in her crib in the next room, it is still. Still at last. The air conditioner has clicked off. The bright pink and orange puffiness piled high on the Catalinas have settled into deep shades. I am scrunched on a familiar friend’s couch, and the air quivers with eighteen, yes, I counted them massive flower arrangements.

photo by Annissa Corsi

The family is over at Arizona Inn swimming and settling. So many embraces today as we all celebrated one who embraced. And we didn’t try very hard to wrap words around the stunning ache in our collective hearts. There were thirty-five years of people in that big old church on Sixth Avenue today. My whole grown-up life of Tucson. And my friends’ grown-up lives. We have grown up together. And now we weep together at the death of a daughter.

The two-year-old is not singing to herself, as promised. She is singing, “I want to hold you, momma,” which is not exactly the same thing to the lady-down-the-street called in for a last-minute child sitting.

But at last she falls silent. The air-conditioner clicks on.

One of my daughters sat next to me during the service and wept pretty much the whole time. When we gathered around the bar at Time Market afterwards for a dark beer and the best pizza in Tucson, she declared, “We need to bubblewrap our whole family so that never happens to us.”

But that is not what the stories were about, the stories told by friends and family about fouling out of basketball games and following big sister around on tippy-toes and serving McDonalds to a childhood friend and his two kids were about, her father reminded us all, something described by the great American philosopher, Dr. Suess:
I'm sorry to say so 
but, sadly, it's true 
and Hang-ups 
can happen to you. 

You can get all hung up 
in a prickle-ly perch. 
And your gang will fly on. 
You'll be left in a Lurch. 

You'll come down from the Lurch 
with an unpleasant bump. 
And the chances are, then, 
that you'll be in a Slump. 

And when you're in a Slump, 
you're not in for much fun. 
Un-slumping yourself 
is not easily done. 

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. 
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked. 
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin! 
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? 
How much can you lose? How much can you win? 

And that’s okay. Because you can still be a person of impact. Of compassion. Of humility. Of victory.

And we don’t need to be afraid.
Even when the windows are mostly darked.

You are my light.

Whom then shall I fear?