On Sunday morning, I was sitting in the Thanksgiving service at our church...grumpy. Matthew was having a difficult morning, thanks to three too-late nights and the subsequent too-early mornings, and Geoff had taken him out of the service in order to distract him for a while. I was doing my best to be in a thankful frame of mind, but it wasn't working. At all. I was fuming, in fact, because Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times of year, and it seemed wrecked for me. Childishly, I wanted to leave, to sulk, to hibernate in the car until the morning was done.
Had I done that, I would have missed the moment that turned my day around. Sitting there, arms crossed over my chest, I heard the sound of laughter. It was a child's voice, and the laugh was one of those from-the-belly laughs that can only come from the innocent. The kind of laugh that I usually find so contagious. But this time, I just got more annoyed, thinking that the loudness of the laughter was disruptive. Shows you what kind of mood I was in. Worse, it was coming closer and closer, quickly. All of the sudden, two boys ran into the aisle directly in front of me. The younger was about three and the older about five. Clearly brothers, and clearly Ethiopian-born. Soo beautiful.
It was the little one that was laughing. His whole face was lit up with the joy of whatever was going on inside of him. Maybe it was the chase that he loved, because his older brother was just a hair's breath behind him, trying to catch him and constantly shushing him. But the belly laughs kept coming, rounded and carefree. After hesitating a moment right in front of me, after looking right into my eyes for a split second, the boys took off down the adjoining aisle that led them towards the front of the church, where they were nabbed by their mother. The laughter stopped mid-chortle.
My whole morning changed in those few seconds. It's hard to explain. When I caught my first glimpse of the boys as they came around the corner and down the aisle in front of me, my first thought was to wonder whether these were my boys. I wanted them to be my boys. It felt like God was saying something to me. They were so real, so full of life. In the moment that they stopped in front of me and glanced my way, I wanted them to be looking at me as their mama, the one who would take them home shortly.
It was a moment of such intense longing. And it did change my grumpiness into something quite different. I was pretty quiet on the drive home a while later, thinking it through. I really, really wanted that to be a foreshadowing of my own future. Where it's my third child running around with that beautifully disruptive belly laugh, and where it's my second child who's trying to hush him. Where it's my mama's arm snaking out to grab my little delinquents and settling them back down with me. Ahh, I can picture that so easily. May it come to pass.