(today's word is BELLY BUTTON)
On soft little toddler bellies, poking out over their diapers as they bobble across the room, they’re cute.
On the bronze colored skin of an Indian dancer, ripe with flesh, caught there in the middle of elegant curves, where strands of jangles sing to the rhythm of the dance, they are mesmerizing.
On the oversized trunk of the dark furry middle-aged mister whose swimming suit should not be worn in public, it can be disturbing.
Buttons on the belly.
Tomorrow our Ashley will leave her home with a small suitcase. She’ll strap herself, in the dark hours of the morning, into a seat belt and my son John will start the car and drive her to the hospital. There they will impose labor on her until our little boy pushes himself, with his mama’s powerful help, out into the light of our world. The magic strand, that nourished him to this point, will yield to the clamp and the clip and soon, with the gasp of air previously unknown to him, our new little fella will be on his own. We will carefully diaper and bathe him until the clamp dries out and falls off and then, like every other human who ever lived, he will have his very own - his uniquely detailed inny or outie of a belly button.
As a matter of scientific fact, the belly button is a scar. There in the center of our being. A daily reminder that we were once connected to a power source, a being, without whom we could not exist. Whether or not she cared for us a single moment after birth, the source of our very first nurture and nourishment remains with us through that scar.
I bathe my Annie’s baby Beth and watch the water form a tiny pool in her navel. I ponder as she sits in the nook of my elbow that this is the place where she was connected to her mother, who has a scar where she was connected to me. And when I cleanse my own skin I see the place where I was connected to my mother. And on and on it goes, a series of dots and dashes going back in time, connecting me to people I do not know yet, or at least do not recall.
I bow my head, in reverence, to speak with my Heavenly Father, my first life source. I close my eyes in an attempt to shut out the world while we talk. But if I let my eyes peek open, my head bowed, they are focused right there -right in the middle of my belly, under my heart and my lungs. There, my eyes tell me… there is the scar. That scar my mother gave me at birth. Evidence that I am hers. And a holy reminder that I am also His.
By birth to Him. And by grace to His Son, to whom scars are so familiar.