Wednesday, March 17, 2010

He Survived His First Year!

Today on St.Patrick's Day 2010 Lincoln Carver Johannsen is one year old. He survived this perilous first year with much neglect on his parents' part and much love and violence on his brothers'. Lincoln is sweet and affectionate and fascinated with cabinets, books, balls, throwing anything, his brothers, and bathroom toilets. I have been and am so very busy with gestating this fourth child and keeping the children alive and clothed and clearing spaces through our house so that we can move about in some fashion that I can barely process the passage of Lincoln's first year of life. One year. Last night my cousin Marie Ackland died of cancer. She is not that much older than my parents. She lived in the farm less than a mile north of the farm I grew up on. She was as much a part of our day-in, day-out lives as my grandmother (also passed away) and the farming seasons. And yet today I realize I have not seen her in 2 or 3 years. I live so very much in the present and future -- meeting the needs of right now and plans and projects and projections of "what's next"...I have a very spotty and unreliable memory of all things past. Sometimes this is good -- I rarely keep grudges -- and sometimes this is sad -- I just can't keep past memories vivid or accurate. One life, well-lived -- faithful, steady, consistent -- has ended. One life has just begun. I can't help but think of Ecclesiastes call to eat my sandwich with a merry heart and rejoice in the midst of a mysterious "economy" of God which is an irreconcilably mingled sorrow and joy.

I leave for my son this prayer -- "The Lorica (Breastplate) of Saint Patrick":

I bind unto you today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to you for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto you today.

I bind unto you the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto you today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto you today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to your need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give you speech,
His heavenly host to be your guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar your course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to you these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect Lincoln, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with him, Christ within him,
Christ behind him, Christ before him,
Christ beside him, Christ to win him,
Christ to comfort and restore him.
Christ beneath him, Christ above him,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love him,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto him the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Elizabeth said...

good reflections for me to read today. I love all your boys and can't believe that Lincoln is one either.

Bird said...

I love your posts. I always get so much out of them. Even in the midst of the craziness, you still have the long-term in view. Thanks for sharing, my friend.
PS Did you get the sleepers from Charity?