She Knows

God is present in the dark.  I remember reading this in scripture – something about the darkness being as light to God. Like her, you were in the darkness before you were in the light. I watch her – this tiny human who tests the limits of her independence. This tiny human who tests the limits of her dependence.  So new to the light, it seems she still knows.

She arrived, just six months ago.
I watch her
Sweet and petite
Two tiny, white teeth
Poking fresh and new
Through puffy, glistening gums

She looks at me
Eyes confident
She does not question
Her needs will be filled
She will be fed
She knows

I watch her
Plump knuckles pulsing
Pudgy fingers reaching
To touch it all
She isn’t afraid
She knows

I watch her
Knees learning to bend
In moving ways
Toward freedom
The world is hers
She knows

She looks at me
Eyes dancing
Delighting in her discoveries
She squeals, arms tensed wide
Back arched, face bold
She knows

I watch her
Every day, reaching for more
Never imagining
It is not for her
Not yet needing her bravery
She knows

The light is made for her.

Yet, I know she has been lucky.  One day, not so far in the future, she will know the darkness. The first poke of betrayal – from a sharp edge or a hot surface, or in some way, intended or not, from one of her beloved ones. The disappointments will come, one atop the other. And I pray to the One who sees darkness as light even as she delights in her bright world:

O Lord, you have searched her and you know her.
You know when she sits and when she stands.
You know her baby wisdom from far away.
Even as we learn her, you have searched out her path
You know all her ways.

You know the words she intends to utter as she mimics
You hem her in as she explores and tips and toddles.
You know her.

Where will she wander from your Spirit?
Where will she try to flee from your presence?
On what ascent will she find you again?At what depth will she sense your presence?

Will it be on the wings of morning?
Or on the shores of the farthest sea?
Is it there she will see you again?

“No matter,” you say.
Because you are in each place
Wherever it is, it is there that your hand will catch her
It is there that you will hold her fast.
She cannot hide from you.
Not in her disappointment.
Not in the darkness
Not in her defiance
Not in her despair.

Like her brightness, even her darkness shines for you
Never to be hidden.

You knit her.
When cells split to form spirit and bone and brain
Your hand guided them.

You carved the space within her
That takes in the Breath of Life that sustains her
Each breath is you
And so from the first split of cell,
From her very first cry
She is yours.

And on the day when she comes to the end of all she will learn, she will still be yours.

No matter where she runs, no matter if she hides, no matter.

She is inescapable to you. You are inescapable to her.

Maybe this is what she already knows.

Jill English is an avid encourager of humans and lover of words.  She is most at home out-of-doors, and in particular, while walking any beach.  Her most magical moments involve being Grammy to two remarkable grandchildren, and Mom to their lucky parents.  As a discerner of call in higher theological education, her favorite conversations involve connecting the sacred dots of every-day life and faith. Jill lives in Grand Rapids, MI with two small, elderly pups.