It’s New Year’s Eve 2016. I’m freshly showered, about to get ready to go out.
I’m sitting in my bathrobe when my son, Everest, notices a cut on my leg. First, he crouches down to examine it. Then he kisses it, because that’s how health and wellness works for 2-year-olds. Find the hurt, press lips to it, make it better.
A minute later he carries a pillow over, carefully places it on my leg and says, “Right here. Hold it right here.”
“So you won’t get hurt again,” he says.
It is a fragile thing, this love. Sometimes I don’t want to move for fear of crushing it.
I hold the pillow to my leg for a long time, afraid to let the moment go. When I finally do, I tell my son that I’m all better, and it’s true. The cut is minimal, unremarkable. It will not leave a scar. But I want my child to know that what he did matters. I want him to know that tenderness has the capacity to heal. That his love is momentous even in its smallness.
Too often it feels like the world is whooshing past, like I’ve been plunged into a loud and rushing river, and this — this tangle of love — is the knotted rope that gives me something to hold on to. It’s pure and precious and good.
We are just a few hours into the new year now, and the future is too far away for any of us to see. It will certainly bring battles and wounds. Some of us will carry scars. Some will never heal.
My hope for 2017 is that as we move forward, we find ways to protect rather than inflict. That in the face of fear, confusion, blind panic, and downright evil, we move from arguments into action. That we find a pillow and apply it liberally.