It’s been four months now. Four months since our lives tipped over, spilled out, righted again and left us with a new equilibrium, left us seeking a new balance.
A sweet sister in Christ gave a talk this week about Hannah, it left me thinking. Thinking of those childless years for her, the joyful gift of baby Samuel. And how, when he was so very young, she kept her promise and gave him up. How, though she was his mother, all she could do was make him a little robe each year. How she must have stitched her love for him up in those garments, woven what could have been into the fabric that would hold him when she couldn’t.
I promised, too. Promised to live His will and to be at peace with whatever the outcome. How hard it is, sometimes, to keep a promise. And, then, what does it mean to be at peace? How do you do this? When suffering is what you are called to do, when the outcome isn’t peaceful. The physical noise and turmoil in my life when the babies were here with us some days is so much less than the emotional turmoil in my heart now that they are gone.
On the outside, things look the same. Days go on like they used to, life goes on. There are blessings everywhere, washed up on the shore in the wake of the year we spent parenting those two precious souls. I see the growth, like opalescent seashells shining there in the wet sand. I see the love, gleaming gem-like against the washing waves. I see the way we have learned to depend on God, the way He has broken us, the way He has arranged the pieces into something more able to hold all that He has planned for us. I see the things we have learned and the ways we have changed like treasures there in the tidepools, sand dollars bearing the marks of the cross, their shells protecting five small doves.
And I see the glass that washed up, too. Sharp, broken edges embedded there in on the beach, cutting deep. I feel it, an undercurrent of anxiety that wakes me at night. The dark uncertainty, the helpless feeling of knowing them, longing to mend their broken hearts, their broken lives. I have dreams of losing things, frightening dreams in which our children are in danger. Somehow these days I feel more tired, more wrung out than I did while juggling five children and a full, busy schedule. My mind seems to be tip-toeing around the broken glass, trying quietly to avoid it while continuing to carry on as though it were not there.
Maybe I need to just sit down, let the water wash over us, add the salt of my tears to the waves that wash over it all. Maybe I need to give up trying to pick my way around it and let God in His time wash the sharp edges off the brokenness, turn the ugly shards of hurt into polished gems of beach glass. Maybe I need to weave little robes from the fabric of my grief and send them out on the waves, bright spots moving toward a distant horizon.
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