Wanting to carry your pain started the day you were born. I remember the nurse coming into the hospital room late at night to perform an unannounced blood test. She was surprised they hadn’t prepared you for it. They usually assuage the distress of the heel prick  with a heating pad but nobody had come to prepare your little foot.

Everything in me wanted to stop her from hurting you. I didn’t know about this test. The doctor never said anything. But I succumbed to medical authority and believed her when she brushed aside my concerns saying it wouldn’t hurt you that bad even without the preparation.  She was wrong. I saw your first encounter with the curse of this world when you arched and screamed as she milked the needed amount of blood from your little heel.

When the doctor came in the next morning I asked about the test results and low and behold, she hadn’t ordered any test. The nurse had made a mistake! In a surge of postnatal emotions I broke down weeping. Waves of regret coursed over me because I hadn’t followed my gut instinct. I should have protected you. I should have insisted that they wait and saved you from that unnecessary pain.  I had no idea this experience was a bookend to your life’s story.

As you grew, each time your life brushed against hard reality my soul wanted to rush in and absorb it so the blow was dealt less harshly: when the baby bunnies died, when we had to give away Tonka, when the older boys made fun of your scooter. Half of me watched from afar, nurturing your independence. But all of me wanted to rush in and save you. And all of me, always, wanted to carry your pain.

Tristan, Tristan…

When you started to slip away into a pain I couldn’t touch I began begging God to show me what to do. I was as powerless and bewildered as the day you were a newborn in the hospital. Watching helplessly while you writhed against an unknown enemy and thinking all the time I should scream “STOP HURTING MY SON!”

I remember your last night on earth, me telling God, that I would take it, I would carry your pain. If I could just wake up and find you whole and healed, I would carry it for all our remaining days on this earth. It’s what moms do.

I woke up to a bookend morning. As a newborn your story started with me wishing I could have saved you and with this sunrise it ended the same way. I yearned to buffer your pain, but now my soul became its receptacle. Jesus poured it into me the day you died.

I am carrying your pain, but not alone. I may be sifted like wheat but Jesus is interceding for me like He prayed for Peter.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22: 31-32

I love the intimate way He says Peter’s name twice. 

Whole and healed, your time of sifting is over. Why didn’t I ever realize that’s what this earth is all about? It’s a sanctifying, winnowing workshop. Tristan, Tristan, God used you to teach me that

Dear Lord, thank you that you kept Tristan’s faith until the end and now he doesn’t need it because his faith is sight. His mind and body failed but you interceded for him and kept his faith from failing.  Help me to realize that that is the most important thing! Please come quickly so that we can all stop fighting the curse of this earth and our faith can be sight.  In Jesus name, amen.