Waiting for Henri
Waves of apprehension and anticipation are swelling each day closer to your arrival (scheduled for April 15th!). As I take time in the early mornings to consider your coming I can’t help but wonder if I’m ready to welcome you with grace. C.S. Lewis talked about the stresses in our lives that turn the lights on in our basements and expose the rats of sin…our grossest moments. I’m looking forward to meeting you Henri but wondering if I’m ready to meet myself in the context of your needs and a deprivation of sleep.
I wonder too what you are getting yourself into. In God’s mysterious and inexplicable ways he has taken mine and your mother’s broken DNA and woven in an extra copy of the 23rd chromosome into you. The grief that that news brought us has been gradually replaced with expectation of blessing. The stories that surround different boys, girls, men, and women with Down Syndrome that have come our way since your diagnosis have been consistently stories of childlike and irreplaceable joy. Life has its costs and its benefits and the thing about believing in God is that we look with faith for surpassing blessing. Life is not a zero sum game for those who love God.
Our life before kids and for a few years after your sisters came was marked by adventure and global travel. That phase of life seems to have come to a screeching halt and yet as I wait for you I sense an adventure coming much greater than the mountain roads of the Karakoram or island hopping in Indonesia. G.K. Chesterton called out the shallow sentiment of the adventurer who elevated tiger hunting in India which was a chosen and somewhat controlled adventure to the wild uncontrollable adventure of being born:
“There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap. There we do see something of which we have not dreamed before. Our father and mother do lie in wait for us and leap out on us, like brigands from a bush. Our uncle is a surprise. Our aunt is, in the beautiful common expression, a bolt from the blue. When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world that we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”
Henri, I can’t wait for you to be born and to share life with you. I hope you will learn to like baseball and Chinese food. I’d warn you about your crazy sisters and the love they are getting ready to smoother you with but you’ll figure it all out in time. When we pass the peace in church my favorite part is reaching down to your mother’s tummy and saying “Peace of Christ” to you. You are most welcome to our family be it fairy-tale or misadventure. There is a Storyteller at work who is hard to see but who does not stand at a distance. Peace of Christ to you, Henri.