Thursday, May 3, 2007
Adventure: Clothing the Naked
This is the face of a whole work of mercy.
Meet D. This is my clothing optional child. This is also my sneaky-quick-getaway child. This is child number three. Do you see that narrow strip of fence in the background? That fence is six feet of rough-hewn wood which he scaled bare-hinnied.
Josephus's favorite joke recently? What do you call D when he is standing in the street? D-flat.
The police have been called three? four? At least, four times to aid in the search for my child (who may very well possess mystical abilities such as levitation and/or bi location ). All of those times he was home safe, sleeping: in a book box or under a crib or in the bottom of the linen closet covered by immaculately laid blankets, et cetera. And every time I call 911, there is this moment as I am frantically trying to recall what he was wearing (stripey green shirt? blue penguin slidey shirt? Oh, Lord! Please! Tell me I got clothes on this child today and I didn't leave him in his pajamas . . .) when I find . . . his pants. And every time, there is this humiliating, but equally horrifying moment when I have to tell the operator, "Ma'am? Um, I'm sorry, uh - - he's not wearing any pants . . ."
The humiliation part is easy. Horrifying because, as a mother, I have this terrible image that there are extra-opportune predators cruising neighborhoods looking for my pant-less kid. Sort of like looking for a fast-food joint . . .
OK, so, this is where I take heart. Even our most Blessed Mother, Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven lost her son for three whole days in a giant city during Passover. And I am pretty sure, she was thinking the whole time: How did this happen? We've lost the Son of God! What horrible things could happen! And then probably not, but maybe she looked at St. Joseph with one of those: What do you mean? I thought he was with you! Three days. I know when D. was lost for more than 3 hours once the seconds fell away like drops of blood and the longer we went on not finding him the more hopeless I became that I would ever see my little boy again. It took me six weeks to recover from the fact that he had taken a nap under a bunch of pillows and was so small and so still that even the police, who ransacked my house,, could not believe that he had been in the house the entire time.
So, I take heart in the Gospel, that even given DIVINE intervention we cannot always be certain that our little ones are where we left them. But nothing drives home the importance of clothing the naked like looking for your child and finding his crumpled little pants on the floor near his escape route while speaking with a 911 operator. At least Mary wasn't thinking, "but Lord, was he wearing any pants?!"