Though sometimes I think it would be nice for life to stay peachy and lovely for a long, long time…it never does. Every single day life is a mixed up mess of good, extraordinary, crummy and terrible. At least mine is. Sure there are long seasons of darkness and heartbreak that seem like they won’t end. And there are several days in a row where kids don’t argue and calamity hides. But mostly, it’s just a big mix of everything. Every single day.
Part of the way I’m finding my way past the ‘months long night’ that I wondered if it would ever pass – is in a daily decision to be grateful. Grateful for what has been. For what is. And for what’s to come. Joining in with Anne Voskamp in the practice of thankful list-making has radically changed my perspective on this wife/mama/teacher/cook/driver/planner/mediator life of mine.
Upon opening his birthday card yesterday from my grandparents, our 4 year old shrieked with glee “He’s alive? Really? Grampy isn’t gone?”. I gently explained, again, that it was from his great-grandparents, not from Grampy. But no words can express the heart pain in trying to make that make sense to a hope-filled little boy. I wept and his face crumbled. Grampy is still gone. And it is no less tragic today than it was that cold, rainy January day when our life changed forever.
My wise mother did her own gentle explaining to me last month over coffee. As I questioned and doubted most of what I believed, which she assured me was okay, she said:
I think you’re waiting for it to make sense. For answers. You want to understand. You need to understand in order to move forward. But things like this kind of loss will never, ever make sense. You won’t find the answers and you won’t understand. You have to let go and trust what you know to be true about who God is.
That is, in essence, just what I’ve done. It’s sort of like of learning to walk with a limp I would imagine. There is a piece of us that is forever altered by the deep mark of pain. Every life is marked with some kind of very hard thing that shapes and molds – either for good or for bad. I read in a magazine just this afternoon that suffering is a universal language. So after spending months in a place of waiting for some grand epiphany, with timid and slow steps, I am choosing to walk again.
Even if it’s a different walk. Even if it still feels foggy some days and I still wonder why. Even if little moments that come from nowhere bring me to my knees.
Life, in all sorts of forms around here, beckons me onward.
The hope of the God who has been nothing but faithful to me for many years, beckons me to walk with Him.
#109 – promises, beautiful promises
#110 – plans and prospects
#111 – the exhilaration of saying yes
#112 – time to have a real conversation after children are all sleeping
#113 – God’s continued provision
#114 – the sweetness of a secret kept
#115 – watermelon juices dripping from all appendages of a clothes-less little girl
#116 – one cool room in one sweltering house
#117 – being called a princess by two little boys in one day
#118 – the utter, complete miracle of this verse and how it’s becoming real to me in a whole new way:
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.