Neither newborn baby Wesley nor his parents had any idea of the profundity of their unannounced arrival at our front door at precisely 5:00 pm last Saturday. The loosely-wrapped bundle of sweetness rested so perfectly in my arms that I knew instantly he was the same exact weight as my own newborn several years earlier.
As dorm parents in a college men’s dorm for more than 20 years, it’s not unusual to get a visit from our former students after they’ve launched into next-level adulthood, gotten married, and started families. This time, however, was different.
Forty-two minutes before their arrival that day, I learned a good friend of mine had passed away. For a few minutes, all the Christian niceties, all the promises of God, all the reminders of the joyous reunion we will have with our late loved ones in heaven all fell flat.
I needed to feel the pain of grief for a moment. I needed to express how I felt out loud. I needed to cry.
And so I did.
For exactly 42 minutes.
Then baby Wesley arrived. There stood his father–still looking as boyish as he did as a college student and seeming far too young to be a dad.
And there stood his mother–a first-time mom whom I knew wasn’t likely to part from her precious one too easily, especially at the very start of what many call “the fourth trimester.”
But she did.
When I pulled back the blanket to get a closer look at beautiful baby Wesley, his mother said, “Would you like to hold him?”
When I opened my arms to receive baby Wesley, every ounce of everything inside me realized he was for that moment, God’s offer of comfort. And yes, I accepted it–just like the earth accepts a monsoonal downpour after a season of drought.
I did not want to be like Jacob who “refused to be comforted” when he believed his son Joseph to be dead. (Genesis 37:35)
Somehow, in those few minutes that I sat there with baby Wesley, I understood that he, my dear friend, and I were all part of a wondrous circle of life. Not one of us arrives before we are supposed to be here, not one of us is here without a specific purpose in this life, and not one of us enters into eternal life before our appointed time.
In that, I have peace.