Hopeful that we could still grab a late meal at a local restaurant, Rob urged me to tag along to the hospital and wait for him while he checked on the situation at hand. As we entered the O.B. ward where I had birthed our last two children, I was flooded with a poignant sense of nostalgia. Hadn't I just walked these hallways with a mixture of excitement and trepidation? Wasn't it only yesterday that I was the woman straining to usher a miracle into the world behind those heavy wooden doors? My New Year's date hurried down the pastel hallway to greet his expectant patient, while I planted myself in a large rocking chair near the nurse's station.
Feeling oddly misplaced without a tacky hospital gown or a wildly contracting stomach, I studied the photographs that adorned the walls around me. Prize-winning pictures from local photographers captured the innocence of new life with stunning artistry. Dark haired babies snuggling beneath a blanket of feathers, sleeping half-pints curled around old cowboy boots, naked newborns balancing securely on Daddy's palm-the images were as different as the infants themselves, but each showcased the miracle of new life.
A muted newborn squeal wafted through the empty hallway and my heart flip-flopped at the sound. A smiling father lugged an overstuffed suitcase past the nurse's station and asked about check-out procedures.
"Are you headed home?" I asked.
"Yeah, the kids can't wait to have their new brother around," the proud papa replied.
"What a perfect way to start the new year," I remarked.
The man smiled and continued hauling diaper bags, gift bags and vases of flowers to the car. I turned my eyes back to the irresistable photographs. I wondered if the baby heading home looked ancient and new all at the same time like the precious little ones showcased on the wall. Ancient, like a wise old elephant wrinkled with years and wear; new like a springtime bloom just turning its velvety soft head to the sunshine for the first time. Eternity crammed into flesh and bone. A miracle only God could accomplish. Tears surprised my tired eyes. A door clicked quietly down the hall and I spotted my husband sauntering toward me. His wink assured me we had time for a quick dinner.
I rose from the wooden rocker and fumbled with my coat. We would eat with one ear turned toward each other and another tuned to the ringtone that would call my husband back to this place of ancient hope and fresh joy. I took one last glance at the photos and I saw the New Year there, a fresh-from-Heaven gift, wrapped in the wrinkles of eternity. I pictured the Hand that holds all time and space balancing the precious bundle of 2011 in His palm. And I thanked God for new starts and fragile hope, for a life too big to fit into all at once, for Kindgom plans grander than my own, for a small Christmas baby that paved the way to eternity before my toes had touched the dirt of this earth. I thanked Him for oversized dreams sown by an infinite God and for the ongoing hope that this year I might grow up a little more into the woman He planned me to be when I first entered this world thirty-eight years ago.
The Overflow: Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. 1 Peter 2:2