“Again, Again.”

It’s rare when I get a moment to relax with my husband. At all hours of the day there are things that separate us physically – stress, paperwork, laptops, frustration, and a myriad of children’s legs, arms, mopheads of hair…

But there are some evenings when the stars align and bedtimes work and if Benadryl is involved I’m not saying, when we have a moment together to breathe.  We had one of these moments two nights ago and we were chatting and enjoying some evening television when a commercial came on (I can’t even remember what it was advertising) and a toddler voice said, “Again, again.”

And it was like Kate, speaking to me. I was immediately transported to our old house on Tuscarora where I was sitting cross-legged on that bed where Sydney now sleeps, pajama’ed Kate on my lap reading:

“The sun has set not long ago/now everybody goes below/to take a bath in one big tub/with soap all over scrub, scrub, scrub/they hang their towels on the wall/and find pajamas, big and small/with some on top and some beneath/they brush and brush and brush their teeth.”

(from The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton)

I could feel her wispy hair brushing my chin and see her chubby cheeks as she turned her head and with paci squeezed between teeth said, “Again, again.” And I would begin again – because with that request, how couldn’t I? It’s one of my most cherished memories of my girl. That book shares the sacred space with her earthly body because that’s how I remember her best, curled up in my lap cheerfully demanding, “Again, again!”

And it makes me happy, and of course sad.

And I shared that memory with my husband and we just sat with it. And held each other. And I just knew in my gut that there was something more to hearing that little toddler voice again. So I tucked it away in my heart, ready for when that “more” would unfold.

Today I read on Ann Voskamp’s website aholyexperience.com the word “Radaph” or pursued. And how God is pursuing and even chasing us. And it struck a chord in me.  When I am blessed with specific memories about my time with Kate, though always (always) tinged with bittersweetness, I feel as if I’ve received a gift. I admit that I am often weak and pray specifically to “know” that Kate is okay, or that I can get (another) affirmation that she is safe in his arms. These instances such as this random commercial provide this affirmation and remind me of not only how much God loves me, but how much he still pursues me with that love.

“God is so bent on blessing – he chases.  And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily – but relentlessly. It’s right there in his Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days – but all the days of my life. No shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.” (A. Voskamp)

One of my greatest fears following Kate’s death was that I would never see the way God would redeem that loss. But he pursues me with his love and that redemption, maybe not in the large impactful ways I demanded, but in the small voice of a toddler reminding me of great love and patience and connection.

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