Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From Life's First Cry

I have a beautiful little rocking chair in Benjamin's nursery. Before that, it was in my nursery and before that, in my mother's. It means a lot to me to have something so special. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love heirloom and tradition, heritage and family. I get very upset if I feel that someone is less than gentle with something I consider an heirloom. When I was a child, the rocking chair was broken (I think by Adam standing on the rocker) and when I first got pregnant, I wasn't sure it could be fixed. The wooden rocker was completely broken--wood glue would have just been joke, which is probably why my parents never had it fixed. But I asked them if I could have it anyway because I knew that if anyone could fix it, Stan Riggs could. I took it to Stan and he made a new rocker to replace the broken one. He did it so fast and so beautifully--I couldn't tell you now which is the original rocker and which is the one he made. I was so relieved, and so grateful.

Stan Riggs passed away this week. He was such a beautiful man, the patriarch of one of our favorite families, and the go-to guy for nearly all of Abilene where woodworking was concerned. I am so glad that Adam broke that rocker, because it means that Stan got to fix it with his wonderful hands.

I sat with Benjamin in that chair this morning and looked at his round little face. And I thought about how, 85 years ago, maybe Stan's mother looked at his little baby face. It's hard to imagine people who have always been old in our lives as having had lives before us--from babyhood through young adulthood. It's like we think their lives began when we first became aware of them, or that they always were the way we knew them. But I look at my baby, at eyes that have no lines around them, skin that is smooth with trust and inexperience. And I know he will not always look this way. His face will be touched and refined by the years, by joy that is not merely the laughter of a baby, and by grief as well. Hopefully he will grow to be empathetic to the triumphs and tragedies of others. I hope he will live long enough and well enough to know some of the things Stan Riggs knew.

I'm finding it difficult to articulate my exact thoughts on this journey from where we begin to where we end (and then begin again in Glory). I wish I could find the words because it seems too important to leave alone. There's a song that I love and that I often sing to Benjamin in the lullaby hours. It's called "In Christ Alone" and my favorite part says, "From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny." I have never (really, not once) been able to sing that line without choking up. That line always makes me think of the faithfulness of God in the lives of people I know. It gives me the faith to pray for my son, knowing that what God did for Stan Riggs, He will do for Benjamin Brokaw. In His Name, I pray He will give Benjamin a heart for Himself and the gifts to glorify His holy Name, that He will give him love and family and friends and responsibilty. I pray that Jon and I will do our part well, so that Benjamin can do his part better later.

I'm sorry this was such a long post and a rambling one. It makes sense in my heart and I hope it does in yours.


Shanna said...

This is really beautiful. A good tribute to a wonderful person.

Kristi said...

Krist, I think that this will certainly make sense in the heart of anyone who was lucky enough to know boppa. It does in mine.

Kristi said...

Why does it say that you are making my comments? --Jon

Jon said...

Did that fix it?

Jon said...