First Word

 [Sheena Koops grew up in southeast Saskatchewan.  Earning paychecks as teachers, she and her husband Michael are committed to shining forth Christ’s light in the Qu’appelle Valley, with their three daughters.]

A picture kicks around the farm of a blonde-long-haired boy, chest deep in grasses, fixing his bike. He built tree-houses, forts, go-carts. He ran everywhere, for miles and miles, never tiring. I remember a strawberry blonde girl, reaching up for the front door handle, tugging on her Mom’s purse saying, “doh, doh.” My brother’s first word was side and my sister’s was go. These have been words to live by; Ian working rigs, crews, towers, roads, everywhere under the sun; Andrea going and going and going, to new countries, new friends, new ideas.

My first word was moon, so Mom tells me. Maybe this explains why John’s poetry arrests me, always has. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I have been a moon-girl, my heart floating with the stars. Often I have been suspicious of religion. Antagonistic to rules. Angry with those who know-it-all. Superior to my weaker brother, caught up in small-mindedness. Claiming my right to become all things to all people.

This dark-side-of-the-moon freezes and I cannot move. In this cold there are no answers, no hope, no perception. But when the light pulls my moon-face to the Word – the Word that I wait for, which is already here, has always been here – the Creator’s poetry, his son, melts my cool; suspicion turns to compassion, antagonism to questions, anger to prayer, superiority to humility, rights to sacrifice.

Joy to my world, the Word has come.

I have often felt shame that I do not remember my own daughters’ first words. I have not given them this defining narrative, as my mother did for her children. But today is a new day, and I claim anew our shared first-Word-story, the Word that was with God and is God. The Word that is the creative force. The Word that is life and light and reaches into our darkness and rescues us. Today, I give my daughters the first Word, I give you the first Word, which is not mine to give because it has already been given, from the beginning. Today I rededicate my moon-face to reflect the light that I do not have the power to produce, enlightening me to shine in the darkness.


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