|Drason, a father who carries — and is carried, too.|
i remember the day that little livi was born.
four of our besties, Sonya and myself included, were preggers at the same time. we rubbed bellies, shared maternity clothes, and told sweet lies to each other, things like “no, your face doesn’t look fat at all!” and “well, your feet might be just a tad bit swollen … “
it was wonderful … and, surprisingly, it was nerve-wracking, too.
because we didn’t just need one healthy delivery — we needed four. it was as if we carried our own babies and each other’s … umbilical cords twisted and tied in tight bonds of friendship. and in the end, when we lined those infant seats all in a row for the camera’s flash — four perfect sets of pink gums, chubby cheeks, bright eyes peeking out of them — our hearts poured out into each other’s, soul-friend love spilling long and wide.
my favorite memory, though, of the day that little livi was born involved not Sonya, but Drason.
and, just like most of my memories involving Drason, it makes me laugh out loud, still.
he’d been a jumble of nerves, though that guy polishes up nice so you’d never tell it. because they are spontaneous and fun (and because they have an iron will like i will never understand), they chose not to find out if Livi would be a boy or a girl. those of us who had gathered at the hospital took bets on the gender. and when the time finally came, anticipation hummed in our ears — the room was electric.
drason entered; cleared his throat, making us wait. true to his normal showmanship, he was making it an event — which, as you’ll see, came back to bite him. the room got pin-drop quiet, then he said:
i’ll admit, in the blitz of thoughts that flooded my brain — tutus, tiaras, an arranged marriage with my little boy — i wasn’t quick on the math.
but someone was … and when they retorted “Where I come from, that’s considered eight pounds!” the room exploded in laughter.
and Drason, proud Papa, for once didn’t know what to say…
i remember another day, too.
utterly different circumstances.
the room where family and friends had gathered to hold each other, spill tears, and pray was tense. pin-drop quiet. when i squeezed my eyes shut in prayer, i secretly hoped i’d be awakened by an alarm clock, a baby crying to rouse me from the nightmare my friends were living. i felt numb, like so many of us who had considered sweet Bane Bane “our baby.” my knee-jerk reaction was to push back hard against impending grief, to suspend belief, to refuse reality.
down the hall, one proud Papa chose a different response.
in his arms, he held the son he had longed for — the cry of his heart. this Daddy who’d been so smitten with girl-child would now play a different role. he’d need wrestling skills. he’d acquire fort-building experience. he’d have to have “the talk” about respecting young ladies. he’d stand, cheering, on wooden bleachers, wearing his son’s number on his jersey. he’d stand front and center, on the groom’s side.
it is a loss beyond what i can imagine … and the only thing i feel stronger than grief is awe.
for my friend, the proud Papa … he was asked that day to walk the footsteps of Abraham. but when he climbed Mount Moriah, there was no ram in the bushes to be found — only son.
and Drason, proud Papa, somehow still knew what to say.
for in the moment when most would curse God, he took to a podium above the casket of his namesake and he, flesh-weak but Spirit-filled, pointed all who would hear to a Heavenly Father.
a Father that he named Loving, even as grief and pain seared through his body. a Father that he named Righteous, even in the loss of one so innocent. a Father that he named Lord, even when divine plans had wrecked so many earthly hopes.
i still haven’t recovered from what i heard that day.
God, please, let me never recover from what i heard that day…
because the paradox of Drason’s testimony that day — God-love and sacrifice rendered inseparable, home-going celebrated even as grief poured forth, angel son leading father to lead others heavenward in his wake – that is purest Gospel on display.
and though it speaks to all, it only makes sense to those who really know the Father that Drason was pointing to. Drason’s father. and Bane’s. and mine. and yours?
Drason and Sonya … they come here to this space and they sit and they read and they pray for you, for those of you whose paths have landed you here. They pray that the God who cradles their son would rouse you from your sleepwalking — would pull you close to Him and give you purpose.
And if you know the Father who sees Bane’s face this very day, would you cry out to Him on their behalf? Would you slip even just those words — “I will pray” — into the Comments section to let them know that you haven’t forgotten?
Drason is still a proud Papa, a loving husband — but he needs our prayers as he returns to work and balances the demands of the everyday with leading his family in this heart-wrenching time. Be prayer-full, dear friends. Lift this father up to Our Father.