small ones

Four years ago, on a beautiful night in late June, my sister Tabithah was born. (I assume it was a beautiful night. Chances are it was humid and very warm, but I know it was green, and it wasn’t raining. In any case, the event made it beautiful.) I was twenty years old.

Taba and I will always have lockstep birthdays. She’s four; I’m twenty-four. When she’s twenty, I’ll be forty. Recently she was playing at getting married. She wedding-walked into the living room, humming a wedding march to herself. Suddenly she stopped, turned, and with a twinkly-eyed little smile waved at me.

“Who are you getting married to?” I asked.

She named some fellow from a video she likes.

“And who are you waving at?”

She laughed at me. Little ones never bother to pretend they’re not laughing at you. “You-oo!” she said.

I hope, when she does get married, that she waves at me on the way down the aisle.

Twenty years is a big spread between siblings, even if there are ten others to fill in the gap. Not many girls my age have a baby sister who’s still well under four feet tall. It’s a privilege–a gladsome joy–to have a small one in my life.

As I was working yesterday she came in and looked up at me with earnest blue eyes.

“Rachel, you know that song you teached me? Can you teach me again?”

So I did. Picked her up, set her on my lap, and sang the old spiritual “Down to the River to Pray” with her. My favourite verse is the one that highlights her lisp: “Oh sisters, let’s go down/Down to the river to pray.”

Sometimes I overlook the privilege I have–the chance to be a part of small ones’ lives, to pick them up, to teach them, to be their “big girl.” God give me grace to make the most of these years. Someday I hope we’ll go down to the river of God’s grace together, that we’ll drink of His overflowing Spirit in a sisterhood that’s deeper than any we can experience in purely earthly places. When we go, I want our quiver of memories to be already full. I want our attachment to be deep and real. I know I’m weaving the future now.

God honours small ones. God help me do the same.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *