It was in a moment when the house was quiet, the girls at school and my husband at work that the little blue sleeper called my name again.
The sun’s bright rays bleached my vision and I squinted against a row of white sheets flapping in the breeze. I stood still for another moment and considered. Then as if pulled by a magnet, I turned toward the house and climbed the stairs to my bedroom. For a moment I stood in front of the wardrobe and reckoned with the height and effort of digging it out.
I sighed aloud, knowing I would not walk away. I would pull down that little sleeper again and caress its softness. I’d let the blue of my spirit wash together with the soft arms and legs of the 0-6 month-old-never-worn pajama. I would zip and unzip it and grieve just a little I’d never held him. Alone moments like this with no one home, without young wondering eyes to probe and question, apart from a concerned husband anxious about my state of being were meant to be secret.
In Genesis 16, Hagar, alone and afraid, despised and rejected carried in her body the son of her master Abraham. Sent by Sarai her mistress into the desert, pregnant and rejected, she discovered in the moments no one sees, God does. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar near a spring and spoke to her, promising a future and a plan. In that space, she recognized El Roi, the God Who Sees Me.
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.’” Genesis 16:13; NIV.
It had been almost a year since we’d lost our unborn baby.
“Where did you lose her?” my middle daughter asked. Surely, she considered looking under the bed, or in the closet or perhaps we lost the baby at the grocery store.
I didn’t know how to handle the stick figured pictures of our youngest. Blue notebook lines ran through a family holding hands with one little figure lying apart on its side in the bottom margin.
Bit by bit my body recovered and beat by beat my heart healed. Piece by piece I’d packed away the memories of expectancy, except for the little blue sleeper. For some reason I couldn’t put it away in a box or close the lid on my image of tiny life inside, and frankly I felt a bit embarrassed to not be over it by then.
In the quiet of the house I dragged a chair against tile. The sound almost broke the spell, but I yearned for a moment of stillness with the footed plush fabric and miniature PJ against my cheek. I climbed on the chair, stood on tip-toes and stretched my arm until the downy cloth touched the tip of my fingers. It unfolded as I pulled, stirring up a faint baby-laundered sweetness.
A year ago, in a hospital bed, how I would have welcomed a visit such as Hagar experienced. How I needed to be reminded who sees in those moments when no one else is looking.
Yet, as I sat in an upstairs bedroom, with the sleeper on my lap, I knew the God-who-sees-me saw me before, and saw me then. With each moment I sat alone warmed by a little plush sleeper, the sorrow loosened its grip a notch, and my assurance in God’s watching increased. Joy in the Person who never let me out of His sight for even the tiniest moment took root. Pain birthed truth.
I held it against me in the quiet dotting it with tears, then folded it again, then climbed back up on the chair and put it away, comforted again by the presence of El Roi, The God Who Sees Me.