Saturday, May 26, 2007

Just to See You Smile

Jacob spent the majority of the day with me yesterday. Together we ran a host of errands and spent a lot of time driving in the car. Jacob is a big country music fan and loves to play his favorite hits over the car stereo from my iPod. I can enjoy country music in moderation, but tend to find the hopeless romance sagas slightly depressing. Yesterday's country music (Just to See You Smile - Tim McGraw) selection was not an exception as some lovelost man comes to approve his girl's new love just to see her smile. Odd.

Thankfully, however, the chorus of the song is quite redeeming. Well, perhaps, that is, if you set the stage a little differently. Erase Lovelost Man and Wind-Blown Girl. Enter Tommie DePaola's Giovanni, a peasant juggler from one of my favorite children's books, The Clown of God. DePaola tells the story of a poor young child who has but one gifting - he is a juggler. At a young age Giovanni is told by two Brothers that his juggling may be used to the glory of God. Doubting this, Giovanni continues through life and ultimately finds himself an old man back at the Brother's church in Sorrento. The church is quite crowded and all people are bringing in gifts. He is told that it is the Holy Child's birthday. Having nothing to bring, he waits until all have left and then begins to juggle before the statue of the stern Holy Child sitting in his mother's arms. As the colored balls stream through the air, he proclaims, "For you, sweet child, for you!" The last golden ball falls into the arms of the Christ Child and DePaola draws the curtain to show a dead Giovanni before a radiantly smiling Holy Child.

I have written before of my love of DePaola's phrase, "For you, sweet child, for you!" I find myself uttering these words when the road of faith is challenging. But, today, I found myself a participant in this stage in a new way, gazing at the smiling Holy Child beside the fallen Giovanni and wanting to sing:

Just to see you smile
I'd do anything
That you wanted me to
When all is said and done
I'd never count the cost
It's worth all that's lost
Just to see you smile