On waking to endless morning hugs

He shuffled into the kitchen wearing wild morning hair on his head and a bewildered, wounded look on his face. I said good morning before I recognized his eyes were puffy not just from sleep but tears.

"Buddy, what's wrong?" I asked, pulling him in for a hug.

His shoulders started to shake and he sobbed, "I dreamed you left me all alone, and I was still just a kid."

He went on. "All I had for food was my lunchbox. And you took it away. And I asked for it back and you said no. And then I didn't have anything, and you made me go."

"And there were these clues to help me get home, but I was only four, and I didn't know how to read them..."

By now I'd picked up all fifty pounds of my seven year old, carried him to the couch as he wrapped every limb around me like a koala to a tree. "I'd never ever leave you, Buddy. Never. And I'll always take care of you. Always."

"It felt so real. It was so awful. I didn't know what to do. And I didn't understand why you made me go away all by myself." He started to cry again.

I squeezed him tighter. His little sister came closer, added herself to the morning embrace. "I dreamed that same one too, Mom, and it made me sooo sooo sad," she said. "And then I had another dream about a pirate chasing me, and that's why I didn't sleep in, and why I need extra extra morning hugs."

"Extra morning hugs!" I sang. "Step right up and get your extra morning hugs!"  This time his shoulders shook with a giggle.

We three held on tight until the sun came up, until the light of a real morning slowly replaced the dark of nightmares.


I intended only to write this out for my own memory sake, not to draw a conclusion or make a point. But it's hard not to draw a parallel when my son wakes up on Good Friday feeling forsaken, abandoned and alone. It of course reminds me of the nightmare Christ endured on the cross. And of the joy in that third morning when by His waking, we were offered a new reality--to escape the nightmare of defeat and despair, to awake in His enduring embrace (not just extra, but endless "morning hugs"), to live new in His limitless grace.

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