Friday, May 19, 2017

Their Shining Fills the Room

Ode to the Joyful Ones

That they walk, even stumble, among us is reason
to praise them, or protect them —even the sound
of a lead slug dropped on a lead plate, even that, for them,
is music. Because they bring laughter's
brief amnesia. Because they stand,
talking, taking pleasure in others,
with their hands on the shoulders of strangers
and the shoulders of each other.
Because you don't have to tell them to walk toward the light.
Because if there are two pork chops
they will serve you the better one.
Because they will give you the crutch off their backs.
Because when there are two of them together
their shining fills the room.
Because you don't have to tell them to walk toward the light.

Thomas Lux

Today is my Henry's last day of high school before finals next week, and I'm feeling overwhelmed with nostalgia. I read the poem this morning and thought it perfect to mark the day. Henry is one of the joyful ones and has been so since the day he was born. I've been sort of blocking the powerful emotions this milestone of moving to the next stage of his life brings, for obvious reasons. Today I'm going to praise him as one of the joyful ones. I hope that everyone out there who meets him will protect him.


  1. Dear God, I understand. No way through this but through. Let yourself feel it all. You have no choice really. It helps that mixed in with it all is great unmitigated joy in who he is, and who he is becoming. Congrats, Mama. You did good. Congrats, Henry. You make us so proud.

  2. What a strong intelligent and compassionate young man you've raised. So hard when they fly fly away. Well done Elizabeth, well done.

  3. Congratulations to your joyful and precious, Henry. Coming to know Henry through your blog all these years, has given me a reassurance in the belief that this country is not without noble young men.
    You've led your son towards the light that Lux speaks off, Elizabeth. And as hard as it is to watch him leave and walk in to it, I hope you know that those who see the Henry we do will protect and keep him safe. And that, as well, you rest easy in knowing that you have given him what he needs to keep himself safe in this world. Have no doubt about that.

    Good mother, good son, blessings to you both.

  4. Congratulations to you all!! What a special life event.

  5. Exactly what Angella said. You ARE going to feel it all and it's a time for great celebration and a time for a sort of grief as well. It will never be quite the same but you will always have him in one way or another. You are his beloved mother, as strong as the strongest pine tree- strong enough to let him go, knowing you have raised him well.

  6. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts.
    When my daughter was where your Henry is now, about to fly away, I briefly thought I would die but instead my life, our lives, have become richer and our horizons wider and the world more wonderful and and and since she has discovered what it means to be part of it as an adult woman.
    He will shine and he will open your eyes too with every new experience.

  7. What a beautiful wish/blessing.

  8. This brought a flood of memories. Having left two sons standing on the curbs of their college dorms, I know the heart-wrenching feelings! We all made it through to a successful conclusion!! Congratulations to shining Henry and his shining mother.


  9. The mothers here have said it better than I ever could! Congrats to Henry, and to you for being a fine parent.

  10. oh yes, the flood of emotions for a mother when a child leaves the nest. Hope, joy, grief, and most of all, a gratefulness for all that he has been and all that he WILL be. Hugs to you, Elizabeth.

  11. Milestones. Heavy. Far. Such a big deal. So much love. That's how you got to hear. Blessings on Henry. xoxoxo

  12. A beautiful poem to go with a beautiful child.



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