[Note: This is Part 4 of a 5-part series. If you missed Parts 1, 2, and 3, start here!]
The problem with fixating on the big holidays, Christmas and Easter, is that it collapses the life of Jesus into too small a space, like Alice in Wonderland, grown to gigantic proportions in a little room. This mash-up of birth and death suggests that Jesus was born only to die, was given a newborn body just to grow up to be brutalized, the cradle no more than a casket. But Jesus had three decades of lowercase years in between—a lifetime of playing with his brothers and sisters, of studying the Torah like a good Jewish boy, of growing facial hair and learning a trade beside his dad–three decades of love.
When I could take the suspense no longer, I texted my mom. What happened to baby bird? She wrote back, We forgot about it! Will try to look tomorrow… Then, the next day she sent this message: Baby bird was gone today!?!?! She’s not punctuation-shy. I felt the same way as her !?!?!, surprised and perplexed. I wanted to believe the baby bird learned to fly and claimed a high branch in the big oak tree. I suspected it was a midnight snack for a hawk or a cat. Hope and dread a single breath. We’ll never know what happened to the baby bird, born at the wrong end of the calendar. All we know is the nest is empty.
Summer 1984 I was glued to the TV in my grandparents’ spare room since Mary Lou Retton had won my heart. Years later, I learned that same summer my grandma had been fighting lung cancer. I remember the watch on her wrist getting looser as her body grew thinner. I remember her not having much energy. I did not think we would lose her. After the new school year started my mom told us that Grandma was very sick. I believed her, but I was certain she would be healed. At age eight, I overflowed with faith, hope, and love.
To be continued . . .