Sunday, August 02, 2009

Emi and Maps from Here to There

Emi came to our house this summer. She spent her week again with us, all by herself. We picked her up in Little Rock and drove her down. She travels well, as she should. She’s made enough trans-Atlantic flights in her short life to take in a six-hour road trip like sand does water.

The first thing Emi did arriving at our place was pick a bowl full of blueberries–certainly a must if there was to be a tea party and muffins with Grammy in the morning. Emi helped make the muffins, of course. One of my students had given me a perfectly lovely tea set as a birthday gift. Little did they know what a treasure it would become.

Emi's daddy drove down with her little sister Lianna to pick her up. This gave Mommy some much needed rest during this last part of her pregnancy. Also, traveling is becoming hard on her right now. Lianna is two now, quite a handful, but so very precious. The three planned to go from here back to Arkansas to Cindy's parents' house. Her dad had a very mild stroke July 4, and the Army gave John time off to help him out around the house and with his recuperation. The night before they left here to go back to Little Rock Emi and her daddy studied maps to plan their route. Emi is fascinated with maps, an influence from the Dora show.

Emi is five-nearly-six. She has a late birth date, November. So she begins Kindergarten behind many other children born in her year. That’s often a blessing. She’ll benefit from that edge of maturity. Emi had already gone to VBS before coming to see us. One evening the television happened to land on a show in which a woman was knocked out or laid out or otherwise incapacitated. “Oh, Grammy,” Emi cried out, “she died!”

It wasn’t yet clear whether the show actually had taken that turn, but Emi perceived it to be that way. As I was trying to think of a response, she continued. “Don’t worry. She’ll come back alive again.” Now I didn’t know what to think. Was she already tainted by too much tv or video games, having seen too many characters ‘die’ only to been seen as ‘alive’ elsewhere? I decided to let Emi keep talking and let her tell me what she was meaning.

“Jesus died and He came back alive again. She died and she will come back alive again because Jesus forgives our sins.”

There it was, simple as can be. During Rev. John Rutowicz's lecture of The Augustana Ministerium's Challenge of Eastern Orthodoxy William Weedon can be heard to say, “Death is original sin made evident; and the converse is also true: original sin is death made visible.” Emi has already locked in the kernel of that maxim. For Emi, death is evidence of sin needing Christ’s forgiveness, and restoration to life is evidence of Life in Christ. Nice stuff even when a little child speaks that which flesh and blood has not revealed.

Emi with her pastor, Larry Peters of Grace Lutheran, Clarksville, TN, on the day she died and was resurrected in Christ.

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