Store Up Your Treasures in Heaven.

When we sent the email announcing Gabriel's birth, and his death, this verse was at the bottom. It had accompanied me through my labour, through the wracking sobs, through the quiet desperation. I chanted it in accompaniment to the beeps of the blood pressure monitor. I put my hands on Gabriel's legs, as he kicked me during induction, and I recited this verse. Christians often memorize scripture, and all I could say was that out of the bedrock of my faith, the bottom of my hopes, I remembered this verse. And heaven.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

Someone asked me why this verse was on the email. It's not the typical verse about loss and death and pain. In fact, you might even argue that I'm taking the verse out of context. That the situation with Gabriel isn't what Jesus was talking about when he said this. All I can say was that out of the bedrock of my faith came this promise - that where my greatest treasure was - Gabriel - the greatest gift, the largest miracle of my life - where Gabriel was, there also was my heart. There is an implicit promise in this verse, one that I am just beginning to understand, the greatest gifts, the greatest miracles, we call them treasure. And we attach our heart's to them. And it is only in heaven that our treasure and our hearts are safe.

It is dangerous to have treasure. The bible refers to Satan, to evil, as a thief, as something that creeps around causing things to rot and corrupt and decay. I think of the old superstitions: How it is dangerous to know the name for something. How it is dangerous to admit that you are aware of the true nature of something. It is dangerous to admit something is precious to you. That your heart is connected to something. It is dangerous to admit that we want something. It is dangerous to love too much. Our instinct is to hold on to our treasure. To lock it away, to protect it, to pretend that it isn't treasure. To call it something else.

I am thinking of this today, as we go to see the perinatologist this morning. This last follow up, to review what happened. To understand the course of the disease, to put numbers and lab values and medical protocols to feelings and fear and forgotten moments. To put days of confusion and fear and hope and helplessness in some sort of logical sequence. To try and understand why we had to give him back.

And I must remember, the doctor's they will have no real answers to handle this disease of theories. They will have no guarantees, they will have no promises. Their protocols and their methods, they do the best they can. They make no promises, but they tell me what they will do. They cannot tell me what will be, what is. They cannot tell me why I had to give Gabriel back.

It is a discipline of sorts to remember this verse. Because it reminds me, that Gabriel was never mine, really. He was treasure given to me, from God. And it was my obligation to give him back. To keep him safe in heaven. To remember, my heart belongs in heaven. Which is why my treasure is there too: because our treasure and our heart, they follow one another.
My other treasure, Mr. Spit, is home for a few days. And I am finding it easier to catch my breath.