Peek-a-boo with the Beloved.  Delightful and sweet. Absolutely captivating.  Masquerading as child’s play.  Last week, I found myself suddenly caught, held fast, in such captivity and, since, have not been left where I was found.  Child’s play.  Oh, but truth is, nothing, gratefully, is the same when the Beloved shows up to play.

Early last week, Doug and I were watching our six month old granddaughter.  At one point, she was in her rolling spaceship – the kind that is designed to encourage scooting and walking.  There she sat and stood, sat and stood playing with all the gadgets and lights.  Then, back and forth, I started gently pushing as her little feet just slid along the floor.  Back and forth.  Back and forth. Then, suddenly, she pushed against the floor and moved forward – ever so slightly.  Startled, she paused and then smiled the biggest grin.  A few more tries and then push, again, and she moved forward a little further this time shouting and laughing.

Then, before I knew it, she was gleefully making her way down the narrow hallway as I watched her from behind.  Feet scrambling.  Arms flailing.  Head turning back and forth.  There she went, that  sweet baby girl, making her way, for the first time, on her own as I just stood there, momentarily, unable to breathe for the lump caught in my throat.  And, then I heard sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset…swiftly flow the days…I don’t remember growing older…when did they? as the memory of my own babies flashed in front of me doing the same many years ago.  It was as if all of eternity exploded bright and clear, loving and passionate, within me in that moment.  All I needed to remember, know, imagine, understand, was right there.  Tears flowed as my heart seemed to just dissolve, to unravel, to come undone and sweetly melt into some ever expanding whirling spiral…turning, following, remembering, loving, laughing…with my Beloved, right there in the hallway.  Peek-a-boo from behind, above, around and within, me, my babies from long ago and, right there, with my sweet grandbaby…Here I am said the Beloved…peek-a-boo…here I am…peek-a-boo…

Oh, but the Beloved wasn’t done with me yet.  The next evening, I stopped by to see my dear grandson whom many of you know has autism.  As I pulled up in front of the apartment in the very cold and dark night, I looked up and saw him standing at the window.  As I made my way up the stairs, I sang, Over my head I hear music in the air… Over my head I hear music in the air… Over my head I hear music in the air…there must be a…there must be a … somewhere…?? And, as usual, he came bounding out from hiding, running toward me shouting, Here I am!!  We went into his room to read bedtime stories but, this time, he wanted to turn out the lights so to watch the reflection of the lights from the passing cars just outside move across the ceiling.  Knowing Fun on the Farm by heart, I just continued to read along as he silently enjoyed the parade of lights.  At some point, I asked my usual question, Are you Grandma’s honey? And, he answered his usual, Yes!  And, I just continued to read, Violet and I play hide and seek…she hides first and I don’t peek…and after awhile, I began to wonder if he had fallen asleep and then I heard, Grandma’s honey…Grandma’s honey…I’m Grandma’s honey…and then he started to sing the chorus part of the story with me…playing on the farm is so much fun…I could see his smiling face in the darkness and he was glowing.  I love you, honey, I whisperedHe giggled, Grandma and me…Grandma and me. And, I hugged him, Yes, honey…Grandma and me…

Soon it was time for me to leave at which point he usually, at least momentarily, gets upset.  But this time, he just stood still at the top of the stairs and waved to me with a soft smile.  Leaving, I threw him a kiss, Good-bye, honey.  Still, he just stood there and waved.  And, suddenly, in some pause outside time and space, our gaze locked and all went perfectly still.  No crying.  No fits.  Just that smile and that wave…back and forth…back and forth.  Peek-a-boo said the Beloved.   Look closely…here I am…Peek-a-boo…here I am…Peek-a-boo

And, still the Beloved wasn’t done.  Driving home, I thought of my granddaughter far away.  She will be thirteen on Valentines’s day.  I thought of all those tea parties we used to have when she was a little girl and how I wished I could see her more often.  As I pictured her smiling face…sunrise, sunset…the child I knew was suddenly gone and in her place just a glimpse of the woman she’ll become.  Wasn’t it yesterday…we crawled under the weeping cherry tree in my front yard and shared our last cup of tea?  I don’t remember growing older…I flashed to the last time we were together sitting on the floor of her room where she was patiently teaching me to play some video game I could barely navigate.  Mostly, I remembered the sweet moment we had just before leaving when I gave her a pink heart stone and told her how I hoped our hearts would always be connected.  Suddenly, back in my car, pulling into my driveway, I heard again, in just a whisper, through my slowing, shallow breath, Peek-a-boo said the Beloved from within my heart…here I am…Peek-a-boo…    

As I lay in bed that night, it occurred to me how I’ve always wanted to do something beautiful for God. Always wanted to help as much as I could.  But, as I lay there, I suddenly knew that for all of my deep desire, hard work, good intentions, and hopeful prayers, there was absolutely no way I could ever give back even the smallest fraction of the full grace, beauty and love that I have been given…from my family, dear friends, from you my blessed community, from all those I am so very grateful to serve as I am able, from the homeless man on the corner, from all the ones I’ve yet to see and know…

I have been left silent and humble and overflowing with gratitude…For I have played hide and seek with my Beloved…child’s play…on the field of wonder… 

Peek-a-boo, my Beloved…Peek-a-Boo…


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3 responses to “Peek-a-Boo

  1. Beth

    Oh Stephanie, You are an endless wonder! Thank you for sharing your generous, abundant, open heart with us once again. I am Blessed by knowing you. Beth

  2. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Yummy and scrumptious…a life of devotion inscribed on your heart, and now on ours. Thank you for sharing.

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