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Birthday blessing

Saturday, April 6, 2019

From Psalm 7
My shield is God most high.

Our daughter will have another baby soon. She herself was born today, in 1986.

Margaret wasn’t sure about this birth, after 54 hours of protracted labor and then a prolapsed cord and Caesarean section with the last two. Boys, those were. This was Andrea, a girl. She was far more gentle on her mom. Still, at every appointment Margaret asked again, “Does it look like we can finally use the birthing room?”

On that fine spring day we drove by our church in Lincoln, Illinois, and watched our friends go in. We prayed for them to pray for us. Margaret’s labor pains were getting stronger. In Springfield, after directing her church’s children’s choir, Dr. Nichols met us in the birthing room. Yes, this time we would stay there. Dr. Nichols put Margaret before whatever malpractice thoughts she might have had.

The sun shone bright and beautiful. After just the right moves, the baby turned around. With quick and sweet efficiency, “slick as a whistle” in her mother’s words, Andi was born on Sunday afternoon.

Pictures of her all grown up at two years old, wearing a thick and lovely winter coat, show her innocence in bloom. With her smiles and her joy, this spring baby has inspired us for all her life. She sparkles at a party. She loves her friends, remembers them. For those seemingly less blessed than her, she always feels compassion, and often acts on it. She’s an artist.

Oh, the stories we can tell. At three, she slipped into the drivers seat and put the car in gear. How could she? She was unharmed. Later with her new permit, we rode with her while she drove in fear down Grand Avenue from the suburbs to downtown Chicago. How could I? But again, she was unharmed. Sixteen, she backed the car into our super-busy, four-lane street for the first time, alone. My heart was in my mouth. She waved, and drove away. Safe, she was, again.

My friend gave us a kitten which was born without a tail. Andi named her Precious, and Precious soon had kittens of her own. Andi loved them all. Our black dog Bear went along with her when she delivered papers. Bear was her confidant, and I think she was his.

Her Austin classroom fills up every year with kids’ creations. She gives them her love of art and music, and they explore the world together – the world as it is, not as she would have it. Like us all, like Jeremiah, like the psalmist, and like Jesus, Andi sees the world’s collapses into ugliness and sin. Sometimes I can feel her shiver in her innocence, in her acceptance of God’s love. Without a doubt, her shield is God most high.

Not to say she doesn’t fall herself. But saint and sinner always reside in the same soul, at the same address. I have no doubt that one day, some day, as it says in Proverbs, her children will arise and call her blessed.

Lord, this girl, this baby girl, has been such a gift to us, we thank you. Dry any tears she has and ease her pains, hold her closer when she laughs, and bring her every day into your eternal moment. Surround her with your angels and give her good dreams. You have made so many of her dreams come true.



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