So many parts of church this morning rang true to me. It was like all these truths that I know I need to believe or act upon, yet I find myself just ‘not wanting’ to. Why can’t things just “be” for a while? Why does it always feel like I have to fix or improve upon something. I move from one broken part of life to the next. Car accidents, death of a child, marriage issues, friend squabbles — is there a break in site?
Your entire story can be changed with the right inspiration. I know how quickly life changes, from experience. From happily putting my kids to bed, with the anticipation of some card games and maybe a cold beer – to an ambulance ride and a funeral eleven days later. With a split second decision to sit at a computer in the parent’s lounge on the fifth floor of Children’s Hospital – pouring my soul over the keyboard, begging for prayers. I was just going to get a soda with my brother, but the empty chair and blank computer screen showed itself as the right kind of inspiration. Now here I am sitting in my kitchen, pouring more of myself onto the screen. My entire story has changed from “freak show mom of spontaneous triplets” to “grieving mother whose faith is worn on her sleeve in hopes of giving others hope.” I’m still trying to find my way through life – trying to figure out where to go from here. But my story is very different from it was a year ago.
Pain shapes people in a new way. It has changed every fiber of my being. The way I look at life or other women in the grocery store. Just because she doesn’t have screaming kids in their cart, doesn’t mean that she isn’t a mother. Just because there are two faces doesn’t mean that they are twins. Pain becomes the shadow that follows you everywhere. It isn’t screaming and kicking and yelling — my pain has quieted down at least. But it’s still there. I still find myself awkwardly telling new acquaintances that I have four children – then panicking at the thought of having to clarify. I’m new. Like the tender pink skin under a sunburn that has peeled away. Like the fresh raw skin under a blister, never having seen the sun before. Even the slightest touch can be felt. The pain is intense. But with time, the skin thickens. It toughens and becomes worn. My pain has made me new again.
It takes far less courage to cling to the past than to look to the future. I remember Doug’s terrified eyes while in the hospital – “he’s got to be ok.” We both clung to the images of all three boys starting their first day of school. Three cap and gowns at graduation. Three weddings. While these events hadn’t occurred yet, they were the dreams of the past. They were our hopes. It was terrifying to think that we would only have two.
Just when you think the story is at an end – Jesus rises out of the tomb. Owen’s death, his funeral – I thought it was an ending. Never did I think I would still be blogging. Never did I think I would be entertaining the thought of a book. Death is so often thought of as an ending. Yet there are so many new beginnings. A new life without your loved one – a new normal. New experiences. Another beginning. The story isn’t over – it’s just beginning.
All of these amazing thoughts to digest – to be inspired by. To find hope in. Yet all I can think about is how much work it sounds like. Isn’t there a time in life when you just get to “be?” To exist? Why does it feel like I’m always trying to fix, mend or heal something in my life? Deaths, relationships, housework. Why can’t I just sit and enjoy the nice house we have? I feel like I must always be cleaning something. There is always work to be done. Why can’t a relationship ever just work? I feel like I am always having to try to find new ways of approaching topics or explaining myself 12,000 times. When do I get to enjoy all that I have worked so hard for? I’m tired. I’m ready for a break.
Please don’t take pity. Please don’t tell me to hang in there – I’m not giving up. I’m not throwing myself a pity party. But rather, these are the true thoughts and battles. The huge exhale as you swing your feet out of bed “here we go again.” One foot in front of the other. One cup of coffee at a time. Sometimes it just gets tough to keep moving forward. But it’s the right thing to do and I’ve never been afraid of some sweat or discomfort – as long as it’s for the right reason.