You rarely dive all the way under, in June, when you want to go swimming in Lake Michigan. You wade out a few feet. Let part of your body get used to the cold. And then you go all the way under.
There are all moments in life when that is true. I know people say it's better to pull a Band-Aid off all at once, but there are many moments when it takes us awhile to get our heads -and hearts- around some big change. Some big truth. There are times when gradual is better...easy does it.
That was never more apparent than during the last 24 hours. Our second granddaughter, Olivia Rose, was born yesterday around 2:50 p.m. It was late afternoon before Sharon and I brought Olivia's 21-month old big sister up to the hospital here in Columbus. Olivia was out of the room when we entered Joleen's room. Ella was unsettled by the sight of her Mommy in a hospital bed. She teared up when she say the IV's in her Mommy's arm. But she ended up sitting next to Mommy in the hospital bed. Watching a video on her Mommy's i-Phone.
When the nurse brought Olivia into the room, Ella looked up for a second, glanced at this little bundle that was placed in her Mommy's arms, and then went right back to her video. There was hardly a ripple of recognition that something was different....but you could tell she knew the universe was shifting.
Ella paid little attention to Olivia, and preferred to walk up and down the halls with Grandpa. Work the elevator. When I would say, "Do you want to go see Mommy?" Ella would respond with, "No...no way." Late in the evening, though, I held her as she looked through the glass into the Nursery. I pointed out Olivia to her, and a nurse brought Olivia to the windows. Ella studied her little sister and quietly said, "Baby sister."
Today when we went to the hospital, Daddy was holding Olivia. Ella sat down next to them. Reached out...carefully touched her little sister's feet. Bent over and kissed them...kissed Olivia's knees...and her lips. After about 20 minutes, though, she was ready to go...said, "Grandpa...elevator!"
So we left...headed to McDonald's and the Columbus Zoo.
It has been something watching the mixture of emotions in this 21-month old. It has been something to see her carefully taking in this big thing that has happened. Not trying to "get it" all at once. There is recognition... and then there is some time getting close...and then there will be more discoveries to come.
Life changes and we tip-toe up on the reality of what this means. I think that is just fine, you know? Sometimes, if you dive into the cold water all it once, it almost makes your heart stop. (And that's not a good thing!)
Jesus didn't, in the beginning, tell Simon Peter what he said three years later in John 21. "You're going to be taken where you don't want to go, and there going to put you away." No, Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I'll show you how to catch people." The rest of it Peter -and the others- would learn along the way. Begin to understand along the way.
So one evening she glances over for a second, and then looks away. The next day she sits close, tenderly touches those small feet, and then is ready to run the halls. It will only be sometime later that she will fully understand what it means to share the world...the house...Mommy and Daddy...with someone who is your sister.