Owen sometimes crawls into bed with us at ungodly hours. Since we sleep in a full bed, the addition of a bony toddler with a propensity to sleep sideways makes for less than restful sleep. Yet, more often than not, we tolerate the discomfort because we get, for just a moment, to see the divine.
His eyes closed, his hair a brown mop, he breathes in and out. He dreams of Rube Goldberg machines, of water pipes and spinning wheels. He, a boy who yells with disturbing frequency, is silent, warm, and beautiful.
When we brought him home from the hospital, we wrapped him in a blanket and rocked him until his heavy lids fell back into a deep, womblike sleep. We watched him with the ridiculous fervor of first time parents. We subsequently watched him sit up, then crawl, then pull up, then walk, then run. Now, he climbs, and jumps, and is always, always scheming. He’s “just telling” us why we need to find the special car presently buried in the back yard, or “just telling” us why he cannot, under any circumstances, join us for dinner until he is finished building his tower out of plastic straws and ice cubes.
He is all boy---at times exasperating, and yes, sometimes pretty annoying. But, he came from a hope and a prayer, and when we perch on the sides of the bed, listening to his soft, beautiful breaths, we are reminded that God has given him to us for safekeeping. He is God’s child first, and the overwhelming grace of this duty is breathtaking.
Between our resting child and the dawn of another day lies the thin veil of the divine. It isn’t an original thought, but I’ll claim it all the same: there is holiness in a sleeping child.