He marched into the office where Pepa and I were working on our computers. Came right over to my chair and spun me around, and proceded to climb up into my lap. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to. It was Wednesday evening at 6:30. He needed a nap. It had been the same for pattern for several weeks. The week before, as soon it was time to load into the car to head for church, as I finished buckling him in and was heading to my seat he asked, “Would it be all right if I slept on the way?” We hadn’t gone two blocks before he was a limp ragdoll, fast asleep.
So that night when he climbed into my lap, with his head nestled into my shoulder, I began to rock in my chair and sing the ABC Lullaby:
Apples for babies, cats, and dogs. Elephants, foxes, giraffes and hogs. Ice cream. Jelly beans. Kangaroos and llamas. Monkey’s nose. Ostrich toes. Penguins quietly race on snow. Turkey umbrellas. Violin’s wings. Xylophones. Yo-yos. Zebras.
I probably sang it about ten times and I stopped to listen to his deep, rest-full breaths. Down for the count.
The ABC Lullaby is something I came up with right after the birth of our granddaughter six years ago. I sang it to her every day of her first six months, then she and her mommy moved away and started a new life. They soon added a baby brother to their family and he heard the song, but not nearly as much. It was the third grandchild that we watched nearly every day who has owned the song as his.
Another time, he seemed so tired and out of sorts that I pulled him onto my lap and started to sing–hoping for both our sakes that he would fall asleep. He wanted no part of it. He put his hand over my mouth to keep me from singing. He looked up and tiredly explained, “I don’t want to sleep.”
Isn’t that just like us? We know what we need, but hold up our hand, telling loved ones and maybe even God that we really don’t want it. We don’t want to change. We don’t want to give or forgive. We don’t want move on. We don’t want to try. We just can’t right now. We know in our heart of hearts we should, so why not give in, give up, go on? What song have you been fighting against hearing? What message have you tried to avoid?
Today in our Advent journey the phrase, “Kick against the goads” came to mind. It’s not a phrase we hear or use much these days. It refers to the poke or prod that is given to move or direct cattle or donkeys. It can be pretty sharp and painful for the animal being directed, and often they will rear up or kick up against the poke.
Sometimes the pokes or prods we feel and face come gently as a word from a friend, but sometimes it’s more like smack upside the head. What will it take to get your attention? And will you listen, move, obey? Aren’t you tired of fighting, of kicking against the goads?