Balloons for Adam

 

Life right now is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.

This is the day that brings us nearest to that time and place when “there will be no more night” (Rev. 22:5).

But even the night is brighter than most. As the ripe moon rises, it scatters the last few tattered clouds until it shines like silver in our faces.

“Look!” I tell my two-year-old nephew. “A strawberry moon!”

“Yes, Auntie Christie,” he says. “A watermelon moon!”

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We wander down the avenue while fireflies come out to play. They buzz and snap. It is a fireworks extravaganza for the fairies.

My sister catches one in her hand, and we crouch, there, on the edge of the driveway, with firefly light in our eyes.

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One more night, and I sit with my four children at a memorial service for a child.

The room is decorated with twinkle lights. We are indoors, but here is the night sky. Here are the summer fireflies.

After the songs, and the words, and the prayers, we step outside and into the setting sun. Everyone holds golden balloons on golden strings until – a whistle and a cry – we let them fly.

“These balloons are for you, Adam!”

“Balloons! For you!”

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The kitchen is filled with balloons.

“Happy birthday!” they say. “Happy birthday,” everyone sings.

It is my birthday. It is my son’s birthday.

“This is the day, more than any other, when I confront the ties of love that bind me to the living and the dead. The old world and the new” (Roots and Sky, p. 174).

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Death, where is your sting? What victory do you have?

You are so small I cannot even see you. You are blotted out by this bright summer light.

But, Life, oh, Life. You are so full. You are as weighty as the dropping sun. You are as sharp as the silver moon. You dazzle my eyes, and you break my heart.

Like the Israelites of old, when I see the fire and the glory belonging to the Lord of Life, what can I do?

What can I do but kneel with my face to the ground, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever” (2 Chron 7:3).

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Three posts for you on my birthday:

In A Land of Small Wonders (written for Emily P. Freeman)

Why I Grieve On My Birthday

Why I Give Thanks On My Birthday

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Maplehurst

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