Carried Close to the Heart

He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart
Isaiah 40:11

I was blessed with three cuddly babies.  Each settled right into the crook of my arm, snuggling to be fed, sleeping soundly with my heartbeat echoing in their ear.  In fact, they were so comfortable it rarely worked to easily separate from them,  trying to slowly, carefully, imperceptibly lower them into their crib without their awakening.  Many quiet hours were spent rocking with them gathered close, comforting me as I comforted them.

Not every baby cuddles so contentedly.  When picked up, they become all arms and legs and arching back, grimacing and howling as they try to wiggle away, with no goal other than seeking perceived freedom.   Struggling their way out of snuggling.   Instead of comfort, it is perceived as confinement, restraint instead of respite.

There was a time, years ago, when I too was restless and uneasy about being gathered up and held close.  I wanted to go my own way, pursue a different path, staying independent and rebellious.  I’m astonished to this day that I was missed,  sought out, picked up and gently carried back home.

Now I know there is no greater freedom than what is found within those arms, next to that heart.