Bronson’s shrieking is mostly happy. He’s often sharing some tall tale with his various toys. Sometimes shrieking gives way to a low perpetual whine, like a dying engine. That means something is wrong. Meltdown is near. Some cries derive from a whine – this means: give me attention. Other cries are louder and accompanied by a pouty face. I hear: give me food. Now. (We’re still working on please.)
Another cry is sharp. It cuts my breath away. The cry of pain.
Six months into child-rearing, I know Bronson fairly well. (Although, there’s nothing as frustrating as not knowing what’s wrong.) I’ve spent every day with him – investing my time, so I can guess what he would say if he could formulate words.
This is gut-level communication, only available with those you commune with most.
There are moments in life when words fail – usually dark moments. Death, depression, doubt – words have little to say. Tongues get sticky when encountering someone living in such a space – for good reason. Words should be selected cautiously in case we presume too much about a place we’re not in.
In these places prayer often seems to fail, or at least dissipate. Sometimes we indifferently recite words we want to mean, but this can feels fictitious. In precisely these moments we’re promised gut-level communication when we want or need it. We can groan. The rest will be translated. Communing with God results in communication, even when words weaken.
Sometimes a cry says it all.