(A Picture From Valley Forge National Park)
The other day I was driving my son home from school. As usual, he borrowed my phone and started playing the sort of current songs which I’m not familiar with and haven’t been keeping up with for longer than I care to mention.
I find it odd that he seems so happy and contented. Even though I’ve worked very hard to hide and shelter him from my darkness, it still surprises me that he doesn’t seem to be as effected by it as he is. Bless him. He’s struggled with his own health issues and the challenges have only seem to have made him more appreciative and happy about all the positive things that life can be.
But there was one song he played which had a rather strange effect upon me. It was Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t stop this feeling.”
As it started, my son began to wave his arms around and bob his head as if he were singing it himself. He bounced around in the back seat with an energy and enthusiasm which I wish I could conjure for myself. But a strange thing happened as I listened to the lyrics. There, in the rear view mirror of my car, I could see a timid figure emerge from the trunk. As the courus rang out again, I saw the small head of a child rise behind the seat my son was bouncing around in. Strange. So very strange. That timid child rising from the trunk looked very familiar, and I realized it was the form and essence of what I once had been.
My son saw none of this and continued to bounce around and dance in his seat, lost in the joy he seems to so naturally feel. And yet that other child, way in the back, began to grin, with tears streaming down his face. There was a gratitude and a happiness obviously welling up within him up which I had been trying to give him unsuccessfully all day, but which he now seemed to have found in the joyous rapture of my own son’s singing.
It was a hard ride home. My son played the same song over and over again, bouncing around with the understanding of things which I can not fathom. The other child, way in the back, began to nod and bounce his head as well, tears continuing to stream down his face. Every time I looked back, he would duck back beneath the seats. Yet I knew, even though he was timid and uncertain, the joy my son was expressing so freely was having it’s effect on this other, lost, child as well.
When we got home, my son bounced upstairs with his school bag, still humming and mouthing the words to the song. Upstairs, I could hear that he started playing it on his computer and could hear the bouncing and pounding on the floor (which made me know he was still dancing around to the same song). At one point, there was a loud CRASH!, with an immediate cray of “I’m okay!!!” He must have bumped or slipped into something which had fallen. But that didn’t stop the song or the continued bouncing and banging on the ceiling above me.
As the song and banging continued, I caught a glimpse of that small boy again from the back seat. He was timidly peaking around the corner from the living room and I smiled to him and waved him over.
As my son listened to the song a few more times, that other boy cautiously made his way over to me and sat next to me on the sofa. Neither of us spoke, but as the song repeated, that little boy leaned over and rested his head on my shoulder. I reached out and gave him a hug as he wrapped his arms around me and began to violently sob. It wasn’t a sad sort of thing, but sounded more like something of relief and happiness – a happiness which I have rarely known that boy to know.
We just sat there, together, sobbing quietly together, as my son danced around in his room, to the music which he related to so easily.
I don’t know how he could so easily see and experience such joy, when I and the child below find such things so difficult to fathom.
However it’s happened, I’m profoundly grateful.