All the cities of the world

When you were my baby you were always amazing, beautiful, lovable. So much so that I would spontaneously think you had all the cities of the world in your eyes, or put another way– I would give all the cities of the world for you.

I remember when I found out that the people who were taking you from me had a story pock-marked by leaving the laws of love behind.

I worried. I grieved. How would they be there always for you? How could they be picked over me?!? Crazy, messy, overextended, underprepared me?

I got the phrase all the cities of the world from Matthew 4–two heavyweights bargaining over the fate of the world. One aims to buy back his lost love the hard way, the other is trying to get him to take a shortcut.

He doesn’t.

There are no shortcuts to love.

Hold on my dear heart, Rapunzel. Love has always been on your side, even when all this feels so broken.

The rightful King of the world loves you so very much.

Veronica

When I lost Veronica–as I was losing Veronica, I decided I had to leave a trail of words so she could find me. This was back before the bloom of social media, so the trail of words was newspaper and legal-document based with a book of some sort when she grew up.

If anyone asked me, I would say that loving Veronica and having to figure out how to survive without her was the single most defining tragedy of my life. Defining in that it changed me. Defining in that it may have made me a better person.

The days and the hours right after I lost you were hell–actual hell. I wanted to die it hurt so much. I missed you, but worse than that I knew you missed me. I hated not being able to tell you why I was not there–that it had not at all been my choice to let you go.

This forced me to pray in a way I had never prayed before. I prayed for people to stroke your hair and people to sing you lullabies. I prayed for people to do things to love you, because I could not.

And in the process I realized that this kind of prayer was a form of metaphysical bargaining–God send someone to love Veronica led to God saying who will you love in return?

I loved youth group kids for you

I loved refugees for you

I loved drug addicts and the mentally ill for you

The snooty

The cowardly

And the messy

For you

I loved strangers for you

I loved pilgrims for you.

And the people who worked the drive through….for years they all were you–my lost baby in the world.

Because for the last 20 years all I have seen around me are would-be Veronicas.

Because that is how God sees me. He sees me through Jesus, His beloved lost Son.

So when you are afraid to call, when I have no address to send birthday gifts or plane tickets I marvel at what you don’t know about the treasure of love I have for you,

my baby girl.

little girl gone

you search for a word for this kind of thing–

boat lost at sea

balloon gone untethered

the appropriation of breakup

…songs

we used to sing as lullabies

now ectoplasmic

only you are the ghost in your own

skin

house

grief

rolls this monster

wave over you

grief-stricken mama

trapped inside this Chinese box

feel the wounds born into

each wrist

howl, howl, howl

hours before dark