Sometimes, but not always, the sorrow comes. Unbidden, it follows the recorded call from the school. We invite and welcome our community of seniors next Monday night for a potluck dinner followed by an informational gathering about college! The man's voice is cheerful and warm, and when I hang the phone up, I feel a laugh in my throat that rises to my lips but it's tears that burst out, peals of tears. Sophie walks around her room, around and around. I leave her there, to walk around, and when she sits down on the floor cross-legged and looks at me, I'm not certain whether she is looking at me or anything at all. Most days, I like to think that she is, she is looking at me and me at her, and on the days when sorrow comes, unbidden, I don't know if she is, if she's looking at me, and I hope she isn't, looking, doesn't see.
In the Bleak Midwinter
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)