Cryin’ Time

ab2e6aae7569767e3cebea551eb71fb3The kid would not shut up.  The whole way back to Chicago from Newark he was screaming incessantly from his seat two rows in front of me.  It was bad enough to be stuck in a flying tin can, but to have a child crying like that was almost unbearable.  I didn’t have earphones, so the best I could do was to close my eyes and tune him out by recollecting the events that happened at the Writer’s Conference.

There was the time when we were all gathered in the chapel for midday worship as the rain came down in sheets outside.  The run from the event hall to the chapel was rather unpleasant, but there were no unhappy faces as we sat in our soggy state singing praises to God.  Just as we came to the line in the hymn proclaiming God’s majesty like the power of thunder, a deafening peal shook the chapel exactly was we were singing the word “thunder.”  We all glanced around at one another and just smiled.  Coincidence?  God showing off?  A not so subtle reminder?  Perhaps God was looking down and nudged an angel with an elbow saying, “Check this out.  Humans love it when I do this.”
Then there was the reading.  People who signed up had the opportunity to read samples of their writings for five minutes.  Some were mediocre, some were profound, some were just like the rest of us.  There were the occasional few that really hit home, though – such as when Em read his poem for his daughter that he had just sent off to college.  The precious moments he had with her when she was a child.  The periods of joy and sadness that they shared as she grew into a young woman.  And then finally the moment where they said goodbye at the riverbank while she went off to start the next chapter of her life.
Although my daughter is only three, it made me think of the things I will share with her and the things I will miss with her.  Since I no longer have the opportunity to see her every day, I imagine there will be many moments that I won’t get to have, although I’ll always do my best to play a pivotal role in her life.  It reminded me of the importance of parent-child relationships and how we have to choose peace and kindness toward those we love rather than grief.  As Father’s Day approaches, it’s especially important to consider these dynamics.
Suddenly, the voice of the crying child on the plane sounded less like a headache-inducing wail and more like the sweet music of an innocent child.  I became aware that such cries are to be embraced right along with the laughter because we won’t always have the opportunity to hear either one.
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