Thursday, January 10, 2013

A small bird, a hand, and grace

The hospital in our university town is huge and the layout complex, so when I walked in yet one more time for a visit yesterday, I had time enough to think about all the dear people I've seen there in the past few weeks.  We've had an extraordinary number of church members in for very serious reasons, and I know I carried much of my compassion fatigue with me.  But this visit was different: I was about to meet a healthy baby girl, less than one day old.

The room was dimly lit; the baby and her parents all asleep.  I stood still, and soon the new dad awoke, greeting me with the most joyful look on his face.  I'm not sure I've held a baby less than one day old since holding my own, nearly 28 years ago now.  But this babe, fast asleep, held her hand in the most graceful position: fingers cupped so gently, she might have been cradling a small bird.  It was then that I recalled the face of my piano teacher, Grace.  I was 7 or 8 when she placed my hand on the keyboard, reminding me to cup my hand so carefully over the keys that I could shelter a bird. 

I knew that meeting and blessing this wondrous child would be a moment of true joy, but it wasn't until I saw her fingers perfectly placed that I once again remembered Grace.