She squeezed my hand.
The past couple weeks have seem me replace the comfort of my couch, my television, and my bed with the unfamiliar, the impersonal, the clinical. Something was wrong with Mom, and so my brothers, dad, grandparents and I found ourselves using a waiting room as a living room. An impromptu family get-together that was missing all the things that make get-togethers memorable. There was no hearty meal, no roucous laughter (well, maybe a little), and no Mom...
I guess you never realize how much Mom is what makes home home. And when she is not OK, when she is laid up, monitors beeping away and nurses checking her every half hour...where is the comfort then?
My family is loud and brash, we put up a strong front and use sarcasm to cope. We wait and wait. We tease nurses and bug cafeteria workers, and then we wait and wait. In the quiet moments between our spouts of bravado--we can see it in our eyes--we are all uneasy, nervous, afraid.
I think upon the Advent, the coming of Christ, the great "God with us" moment in all history. It is a moment of joy to be sure, but there is more there. Every seen is punctured by reality--a reality that not all is OK with the world. Oh sure, the world puts up a brave front, it masks its hurt and need and isolation and loneliness. Oh sure, the world is brash and rude and self-confident that all is OK...
But in the quiet moments the world, and those of us who live in it, know it is not. The breathe in between our great acts of rebellion and self-relience finds us feeling lost, alone.
And that is the key, home is not a place but a person. Home is not a location because a place is not what we need. We are not meant for heaven or earth or anywhere else you could set your mind on. We are meant for God, and when we don't see Him, we aren't home.
She came out of surgery and was awake. You could still see the sleep in her eyes, and her iodine tainted skin was unnerving. The doctors were successful, but she was still weak. Her head still hurt, her mind was still a little hazy. It would take time.
I came to her to tell her I loved her, those words that she wishes I would say more and not just in these moments. But I tell her.
I place two fingers into the palm of her hand and tell her: I love you mom.
And she squeezes my fingers. Her hand wrapped tightly around my two fingers and I didn't think she would let go. And it was this squeeze that changed everything. It was not the plead of the desperate, nor the action of the lonely not wanting to be left. She squeezed my hand to comfort me.
And in that hospital room, for the briefest of moments, I was home.
And is this Advent? Is this God with us? Is the Christ child the squeeze of God's hand to ours, to let us know that it is OK, that He is here?
To let us know that with Him, we are home?