There are times when the force of life comes at us with such force that it seems all we can do is hang on and do our best to weather the storm. There's no amount of wisdom and insight or knowledge of the answer that will allow you to skip the journey you are on. There are no shortcuts and no "easy button" to get you through to the next stage. Life and the tremendous dynamics it holds take time--time to process, time to wade through, time to get back up when you've fallen down, time to wonder, time to grieve, time.
A year ago today, my mom died.
Just as the beauty and wonder of the scene from the mountain-top and the darkness of the deepest valleys cannot be portrayed in even the most sophisticated paintings, theaters or photographs, what's left in my memory of the highs and lows is simply a remnant of what I experienced. But certainly, it is worthwhile and my hope is that sharing it will yield blessings on us all.
I can't quite articulate how much the last few years have been forceful, powerful and incredibly blurry.
That's genuinely the best way I can describe the past year. So much goodness, so much sorrow, so much peace, so much love, SO many intensely contrasting emotions crammed into little tiny pieces of life---all surrounded by a blur.
For example, I will now (abruptly) leave you with some writing from Mother's Day. Words that were cleansing during that rough weekend and also words that I completely forgot I'd ever written and that I feel compelled to share.
Yesterday, the tears fell freely. My heart full of sadness. Poetic words flowed easily through my mind of memories and earthly things I'd wished we could share.
Today's rhythm was far more rapid and the words are jagged, their pace: rigid.
The sunset. Illuminating the city's downtown. Every color of the rainbow, your granddaughter exclaimed. You are not here to share it. The ceremony of your son's vow renewal. Simple, yet right. I wept as I thought how you wanted most to see them walk down the aisle so many years ago.
People always say, "not a day goes by that I haven't thought of so-and-so." I never realized how true that is. It comes more naturally than my remembering to shower, or put on deodorant. It doesn't matter how blessed, happy, full-of-life, or overrun with challenges a day might be, I think about you. I hear you telling me I'm cutting an onion wrong or arguing about something mundane. I hear you telling me the things I should do in life more than I ever did before. I'm thankful for that. Thank you for speaking into my life, far more gently than I might have expected from you, "Write." Thank you for having a vision for me, even as a child, "Counsel." I never once thought you were wrong in those proclamations, but never did I imagine you could be SO right.
As Mother's day approaches, my heart could not be more full of gratitude. Thank you, mom. Thank you for the way you surrendered your life to God's direction while I was so young. You weren't perfect, but I know things were much different for me because of it. God had a plan for your life, and you new He had one for mine all along. You didn't travel an easy road, but you never, ever gave up. There are times I look back and I'm not sure how you made it, and times when I'm not sure where you were---because you gave me freedom to grow and freedom to bloom. It's those times, that I must admit, that you believed in me far more than I have ever believed in myself. And even when you didn't say it, you showed me.
Thank you for teaching me to stand up for myself, and for not denying my voice. Thank you for hearing my wisdom, even from a young age. For answering my questions and giving me explanations to the best of your ability. Thank you for supporting me, and occasionally, spoiling me. I hope that I can hear your confidence in me on days when I am feeling timid and unsure. I hope that I have the resolve that you had, when I encounter trials. And as my children, especially my girls, grow and mature, I hope that they know how dearly loved they are. I hope that they know that part of you will be carried on through me. That, in knowing me, they do know you on some level. That their lives are different because you prayed for me. Because you prayed for them. Because I'm praying for them.
So, on this very first mother's day without you. I pray that moms are able to grasp a small token of how much they are loved. And that children everywhere will utilize this day to cherish their moms while they can.