“You should close your eyes and rest,” my husband said. “Doctor’s orders.”
He led me to our room, this kind man of mine, and started to pull the shades.
“Leave them open,” I said. “I need to see.”
I’d just lost our first son to miscarriage. I’d held his perfect body in my hands, his spirit by then already flown to Jesus. We baptized him ourselves with our tears, somehow finding the grace in that holy moment to accept the most solemn of truths:
The Lord both gives and takes away.
And so my love left me there upon our bed, a mother without a child, to focus through wispy curtains on the outdoor landscape. The land of the living, so far beyond my reach.
Out there, somewhere in the sky, was my baby, my heart. The trees bore only the merest buds of springtime that afternoon, little more than hopeful witness to the coming leaves of summer. But the frothy valances, stirred into sashaying billows by the open windows’ April breeze, slipped into ethereal life.
I opened the drawer of my table, pulled out a paper and pencil, and began to write. The words flowed from my brokenness through my fingertips—a poem about how God counts the leaves on the trees, the grains of sand around the seas, and most of all, His children’s tears.
How He saves those tears in a bottle.
As I neared the end of the page, I squinted against the dimming of the day’s slanted light, unsure even then if the growing shadows were cast by the sun or by my soul. The lacy roses blowing through the treetops glistened like diamonds. I imagined our baby sprinkling fairy dust onto the blossoms, laughing with delight as he made each one twinkle.
For my eyes only.
The last lines of the poem came to me then, and I scribbled them beneath the others.
“There He’ll give us each a crown; Each tear will be a gem. The bottles will be emptied, and we’ll never cry again.”
It happened many years ago, this otherworldly vision, almost another lifetime ago. But I still recall feeling suspended between heaven and earth as I captured my fleeting feelings, and I’ve never forgotten the magic of the rose trees swaying in the breeze.
Whenever I lay my head upon my pillow, from then until now, a journal and pen rest nearby. Of the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve composed since that tear-stained afternoon, many have been written between dusk and dark.
Who knows? Perhaps in the filtered light at sunset on an evening yet to come, roses may once again take flight.
And my words will reach God’s heart on petals of shimmering lace.