Our heads were bowed. Our hands were each embraced one to the other around the table and there was a sweetness hanging in the air. I felt abundantly whole as I peaked over at Gracie’s little hand holding mine on one side and her Daddy’s on the other. She looked back and forth between us as a pleased smile stretched across her face. When Doug finished blessing the meal we said “amen” and then my heart went from faint to bursting when Gracie’s smiling face opened up and exclaimed “Aaaameeen!” She perked up in her high chair, proud of herself indeed! I could hardly believe my ears. It was the first time we had moved to hold Grace’s hands and include her in the table blessing- usually she would be half-way done with her meal by the time we got ours to the table, but she had certainly seen us say the blessing plenty of times. As I sat in awe of what my ears had just heard, I felt a sense of completeness. An overwhelming feeling of contentment and elation gripped me, and I had this intense sense that Grace completed our circle. My heart burst. Amen!
The Hebrew word Amen comes from the root aman, meaning: to be firm or solid in the sense of permanency; to be faithful, support, or to confirm. In Hebrew it is literally translated as “so be it” in the context of being sure, affirming truth, or illustrating something is said that is of absolute certainty. Therefore, when we end our prayers with “amen” we are re-affirming our dedication to God.
“Aaameeeen” is now a word I never tire of hearing Gracie say. Every time her little voice says it I am reminded of that innocent acceptance conferred in the proclamation of “Amen.” Now, at every meal we hold Gracie’s hands and say a blessing, and every time she proclaims “Aaameeen!” with that smile my faith is reaffirmed as I feel a promise from the Lord assuring me Grace is not just imitating. He is not only reaffirming my faith, he is also affirming a faith to grow up in her. How do I know? There are too many God-incidences (not coincidences) for me to name them all, but one in particular is a stand out…
A few months ago I took Grace to a funeral. I was not planning on taking her, but had no choice when all the child care options came up unavailable. Most Sunday’s Grace is in the nursery while we are in the service, so this was the first full service she had attended since she became mobile. Occasionally Grace was distracted, but there were as many moments when she was captivated by her surroundings- particularly the organ, the choir and the times of prayer. As the service came to a close the choir sang the last note of the last hymn and the funeral procession departed through the arched church doorway. When the final note faded into silence the air was heavy with the loss… and then out of silence with no prompting, and no cue to imitate came Gracie’s “Aaaaameeen!” echoing off the sanctuary walls. A smile snuck across my face as I saw the reaction of those around me- a heavy moment made light, and yet punctuated with the profound proclamation of “Amen.” … sure, true, permanent, absolute certainty, dedicated, affirmed, complete faith… Amen!