striking a ray charles pose.

There’s this favorite picture I once snapped of Cancan, taken when he was just a couple months old: he lay still in his bouncy seat, nestled in Dreamland, oblivious to the world around him. As if possessed by Baby Exorcist dormant inside his 10-pound body, after a few minutes his fingers slowly starting raising off the blanket, until they rested mid-air for the next 15, 20 minutes. I called him my little Ray Charles, as I waited for him to pound down a delicious G7 chord, fingers tickling the ivories like the prodigy he’d surely be someday.


But his hands stayed put, held loosely in that position until, with a jolt, they pounced and rested upon his blanket again.

And that’s when I realize: Today is my Ray Charles of a finger-resting day.

I stare at the picture again, and beyond the obvious musings of where the last two years have gone, I mirror his stance.  I think about writing deadlines, both self-imposed and accepted, and I take a deep breath.  I close my eyes, giving tired body the freedom to rest, even if it’s just for a few minutes in the Daly City Public Library.  [I wouldn’t be the first to nap here, that’s for certain.]  My brain curses the current insomnia pulsing through mind and body come 10 pm, because growing a baby is hard, and shouldn’t the gods of pregnancy at least give expectant mamas the hibernating gift of rest before newborn-sleeplessness hits?  But then I remember Baby’s fingers again, appendages posed in a Chill Out! sort of way.

And so I do.

I make the Chill Out! directive my own, adding a little Jesus to the mix, as I let heaps of grace strain through tired, outstretched hands.  I release the stress.  I let go of the pain.  I unclench tightened fists, their controlling grasp an indication of everything I try so hard to make right, to ensure goes My Way.  The words trail out of me – perhaps it’s a prayer, or maybe just a meditation, though it could be a combination of both: I release, I let go, I unclench.  Because I can’t hold this anymore.  I think of hurting around the world, both near and far.  I think of the young girls captured in Nigeria – bring them back, bring them back – just as I think of my short-tempered anger, its fuse ready to light at a moment’s notice.  I think of marriages breaking up, and of the involved hearts that hurt; I remember sick friends and lonely friends and overwhelmed friends, and as my fingers relax, I do the best I can and I point these whispers heavenward.

Because for now, for today, for the here and now, releasing and letting go and unclenching is all I can do – but it’s enough.  

So friends, if you need close your eyes and strike a Ray Charles-like pose, I support you.  If you need to take deep breaths in and out and fall asleep in your local library, no judgment here.  But in the midst of whatever’s going on in your little world, might you take a minute to release, to let go and to unclench.

In this with you,


What about you?  How and where do you need a little Ray Charles pose in your life?  What’s one way you can mirror Cancan’s actions and seek clarity? 

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