charlie's song

The Dot and the Line

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My Sweet Charlie James,

It’s been six months today.  And I miss you baby.  I still ache.

I had wanted you, and all I have is your picture.  It’s still so hard to look at your sweet face on our picture wall.  It’s you…and yet, it’s not you.  It’s you, but you’re not growing. My real picture of you, the daily one your Mommy so longed to see, isn’t changing.  Your little limbs aren’t getting stronger as you try new things.  Your angelic face isn’t deepening with new smile lines.  All I have is an old picture of you…a picture that isn’t changing.

That doesn’t mean that you are not growing, learning, smiling, and changing.  I know that you are.  But it’s happening in a far away place that I simply cannot see with my weak, earth-bound eyes.  And it hurts so badly.

I had wanted to see your life.  To see your smile.  To see your eyes.  I had wanted to see the movements of your tiny limbs as you explored and adventured in the true fashion of a little boy.  And I ache in this void.  We waited almost nine long months to see these things…and then suddenly, devestatingly, a nine month wait turned into the rest of our lives.

And we’ll keep on waiting, until we finally see your eyes.  Will they be brown like Freddo’s, green like Sophie’s, or blue like mine?  They already are…I just can’t see.  All I know is that I will see them someday.

And I’m finally six months closer to Someday.

There’s an analogy we often share with college students called, “The Dot and the Line.”  The Line…is eternity.  Stretching on forever, as far as the eye can see.  The Dot…is our brief moment here.  Each one of us, from your great-grandpa who lived to be almost ninety, to your tiny sibling who lived for only 8 short weeks in Mommy’s tummy, is only given a Dot of time in this life.  A big dot?  A small dot?  Who really cares?  Does it really even matter compared to the length of that glorious, infinite Line?

Sometimes, I actually stop and think about these eternal Lines.  And amazingly,  your Line, my sweet little guy, is just as long as mine.



For all I grieve that you have “missed” by having a “small” Dot…our pictures look surprisingly alike.  Both are but a breath.  A vapor.  A fading flower.  A sun-browned grass blade.  And then, when each Dot is over, the forever Line awaits.

Eternity.  Yours and mine.  You and me.  I.  Can’t.  Wait.

Our family drove across the country last week.  We saw wild sunflowers in Utah, desert sunsets in Arizona, and a starry Colorado night.  As we drove, my heart ached thinking of all that you would never get to see and enjoy with our family.  I had wanted to drink in all this splendor with you, Charlie.  I had wanted to teach you about fireflies and sun dogs and soft spring rains.  I had wanted to be the one to introduce you to all of this beauty the hands of God have made.  I had wanted to laugh with you as our crazy family took wild adventures each glorious day of our ordinary life.

But I realized something important as we drove past all of the things you were “missing.”  I was looking out the window at the fading sunset and suddenly it hit me…Who painted a sunset like that?  Who knew that every flower looks even better next to a little dash of green?  Who made the trees to dance and cast shadows of beauty on the ground beneath?  Who made Freddo funny?  Emma thoughtful?   Sophie sweet?

I have honestly wondered at times, my precious boy, if the Heaven you are seeing could possibly be as beautiful as the Earth you are missing. Why do I think that?  When all of the best things here… came from There?

And I realized suddenly, that all of the things I treasure most in life…the sweetness of relationships, the beauty all around us, the adventures we take as a family…all of those things…come from God.  The God who dwells forever in the LINE.  The God who you are with, even as you wait for us to finish our dots, and join you in eternity.

It helps knowing that all of the best things I see Here…are things you are experiencing in their raw, glorious, forever forms There.  Jesus told the thief on the cross, Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  Sometimes your Mommy forgets exactly how good Paradise must be.  I mean, if I were God, I would make the long part…the Line part…the part filled with perfection and glory.

And He has.  You know that by sight.  And I, too, will know that someday.

But, I still wish we were in the same place today.  I more than wish it…I ache for it.  It’s been six months of ache.  Six months of tears.  Six months of suffering.  Six months of endless wait.

But I am six months closer to forever.  Closer to you.  Closer to an eternity spent enjoying together the best God has made.  And for that, I can honestly say, even after the six most devastating months of my entire life…our God is so incredibly good and kind.

I love you, my sweet Charlie James.  Please ask Jesus to give you an extra kiss for me today.  Just as King David once said, I know that you will not come back to me…but I will go to be with you.  I am coming to the Line someday.  Wait for me.  Mommy’s coming.

Until then, I will enjoy God’s best gifts, and you will enjoy the presence of the very Giver Himself…I on the dot, and you on the Forever line.

Love, Your Mommy

The sunsets of Arizona, the sunflowers of Utah, and the last moments before a Starry Night.



One thought on “The Dot and the Line

  1. Dear Mom,

    I’m a college student here at Cal Poly, thanks for speaking at CRU two weeks ago. I don’t think that there’s anything I could ever say to help ease your pain, but your words have helped me see God more clearly. Your story reminds me of my Grandma. My grandmother is the mother of 4 kids, 3 of whom are still alive on earth. She was called to the mission field in Japan with her husband after the war. I think she would understand what it means to live in the deep end, I suppose more people did after living through a world war.

    She doesn’t talk about it too often, but she’s not afraid to when she does, but her 3rd child was also still born. His name is Mark. I don’t know how my grandparents dealt with Mark’s death, but after Mark died, they had one more child, my dad. I’m not sure if my dad would have been born if Mark had lived.

    About 10 years ago my grandfather passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. My Grandparents had done everything together all of their married lives, and there was no family near enough to be there for immediate tangible support, so my grandmother had to go to bed that night alone. Alone for the first time in 40 some years. But as she was lying in bed she heard Mark’s adult voice, audibly, say “Welcome Home Dad”. She didn’t really think that kind of thing happened before it happened to her, and neither did I, until I heard her story. But now Grandpa and Uncle Mark are waiting with Jesus for Grandma and the rest of us to come home. And I bet today they’ll go meet Charlie and his sibling and wait with them.


    Your son in Christ

    P.s. Here’s a song for Charlie:
    Sweet Baby James, by James Taylor

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