My sister Sienna gave me a quarter-sized silver frog back in high school. I think it came attached to a birthday card. I don’t believe in good luck or its charms, but I kept that frog in the back pocket of my jeans every day until it got lost in the wash. I would take it out at different times throughout the school day, which was often interrupted by anxiety, and hold it between my first two fingers and thumb. Sometimes I’d let it sit in the palm of my hand. I liked the feel, liked having something near.
Perhaps my greatest fear is being alone, but maybe that’s not true. Maybe ranking fears is an attempt to leaven a pound of irrationality with a teaspoon of reason or structure. But one promise speaks to me more consistently, more deeply than any other: I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Some people come to God with a need for freedom or healing or refuge. I came with a heart pumping panic. I came to be stilled.
I’ve walked with God for over a decade now. Sure, I’ve grown. Know a few more scriptures. Know not to bite into my communion wafer before the pastor or priest tells me to (Yep, I was that kid). But the promise I still cling to more than any other is the same. I am the mayor calling out for Horton the elephant from my tiny speck. I just want to know he’s there.
A year ago my sisters gave me a silver bracelet for my birthday from my favorite jewelry store. I will wear it this week when we take Tophs to the hospital. He’s to undergo a fairly simple operation, one the surgeon could probably do while texting. I don’t believe in good luck or its charms. But the name of my children against my wrist feels near.
It’s true; I have some fear. I’d rather take Tophs to the ice cream shop than to the hospital. I’d rather give him baby Tylenol and rock him to sleep than have an anesthesiologist give him something more potent. I’d even like to promise him that I’ll never leave his side, but I will. I will sit in the waiting room with my husband and our daughter and that dear gift from my sisters. And my heart will be stilled by this: Tophs has never been, will never be, alone. In years to come, my son might come to God with an overwhelming need for freedom or healing or refuge. Maybe he’ll use the word redemption. And if I don’t teach him one scripture or hymn or the proper way to break a wafer, he must know this: the nearness of his Creator.