Sunday, December 11, 2011

Return to the House at Pooh Corner

Written by my sister, Jennifer Sanders

If I close my eyes now, I can go there. The bonfire is massive, tediously constructed from driftwood the family has collected all afternoon. The air is salty and warm, while the evening breeze provides a respite from the mosquitoes. There is an assembly line for s'mores, and the family gathers to hear stories and songs. I pop a freshly made s'more into my mouth, rewarded with a goey, chocolatey mess on my face and fingers. Dad has a guitar, and he begins to play.

"Christopher Robin and I walked along under branches lit up by the moon..."

A Loggins and Messina classic, I smile and sing along.

"Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore as the days disappear all to soon..."

A song about slowing down enjoying the innocence of childhood...Dad is belting it out, and the rest of us can't help but sing along.

That memory is a beautiful one. I treasure it. It came to me this afternoon as I was nursing my 6 month-old daughter, Lucy. I have been reflecting on the meaning of Advent on this eve of Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, meaning rejoice, reminds us to wait in joyful hope.

Since my dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, this type of waiting has become difficult. More often than not, I shake my fists at God. But other times, when I am touched by grace, I grasp beauty in the midst of my families' suffering.

Jesus reminds us that, "...unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 18:3). Dad is surely becoming like a child again. Stripped of all things, he is humbled and vulnerable, an image of the incarnation.

I think again of my dad playing guitar down at the beach, and the words of that song.

"But I've wandered much further today than I should, and I can't seem to find my way back to the wood..."

All of us wander far from the path God would have us take. God asks us to be like children: docile, humble, innocent, dependent on Him.

Surely, my father is back on the right path. Looking at my dad and this disease with human eyes, he is lost, wandering, aimless. Yet, at the same time that we here on earth are losing him, he draws ever closer into God's mysterious and loving embrace.

I gaze at my sleeping baby as I rock back and forth, and I know that my dad has found his way back home. I pray that God will lead all of us back home into his loving embrace. I will see my dad again. One day he will be whole again.

And we will sing together.

"At the end of the day, I was watching my son, sleeping there with my bear by his side. So I tucked him in, I kissed him, and as I was goin', I swear that old Bear whispered, 'Boy, welcome home.' Believe me if you can, I've finally got back to the house at Pooh corner by one. What do you know there's so much to be done? Count all the bees in the hive. Chase all the clouds from the sky. Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh.

See you at the beach, Dad. I love you.

No comments:

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!