It's a strange thing to realize that the layers above you are scraped away. Our parents are dead, and we are chronologically next in line. How I pray that natural order prevails and we are able to skip into heaven ahead of our children and grandchildren.
I love the feeling I get when I look at this snapshot. It's blurry and all, but it gives me a sense of peace when I look at Joe sleeping in Gumpa's easy arms. All around him are people and noises and lights and frenetic energy; and yet Joe is sound asleep, his tiny body flopped over his grandfather's forearm. Joe is in the sweet spot, that little space in time when the lips are sealed from conversation because the veil is not yet fully drawn and if they could talk, babies might just give too much away and we'd all want to get back to our heaven homes pronto and skip town before we learned what we needed to learn.
David has easy arms. I've written about his lovely root beer brown eyes before; how they are blind to things that don't matter and see perfectly well all that is truly important. But this photo reminds me that his arms are just as beautiful. They are strong and able, willing and true. They gather the garbage every Wednesday night; and dip down into a sinkful of water after dinner. They shovel massive amounts of snow in the winter and chop trees and haul the wood away, and pull wheelbarrows after the snow has melted. They push themselves into black robes at work, and soft wool suits on Sunday. He raises one to the square and makes vows, and raises both to the top of my head where with power and tenderness he pronounces holy blessings on my body and soul. I love his worthy arms. They are safe and true. Baby Joe can sense that.
Safe arms are essential in good relationships. I have not always had safe arms around me and the people I love, so I might have a particular bias toward David's dependably trustworthy apendages. The poor guy has had to be a missionary for men to some of us, and he has served well in that role. There is a delicate balance betwn tender and tough that is almost undefinable. He has found that balance. Lucky me. Lucky us.
Sometimes, late at night, I roll over in our large king sized bed and reach out in the dark to find his arm. I don't need to talk, or move, or wake him. I just need to touch him. I can feel his good steady energy come straight to my heart and the peace helps me sleep.
I am reminded of a small print I bought for my grandson Timo once. I'm not sure if I gave it to him. For all I know it's in the dungeon downstairs and needs to be dug out. It's a replica of a painting of Jesus holding a little lamb. The photo of Dave and Joe speaks to me like that. Sweet little lamb, safely cradled in happy, able, easy arms.