2021 feels like a lament, a sacrifice, a burnt offering of time and sanity and presence.
A series of goodbyes, both to the tangible and to the what-could-have-been.
I haven’t been much of a friend. Or a mother, or a wife, or even a writer. I am stretched between them all, a rubber band taught with tension, spending my days poured out between house and teenager and packing and moving and unpacking and renovating and still parenting, and still grieving.
Can you lament in the midst of good things?
We bought a house this spring, new beginnings hovered over by death. I wept when it dawned on me that Dad would never see the new house, never watch the south Texas sunset from our deck, never perform questionable ablutions over the stove with his handmade bows. It’s somehow less of a place without him. The house, the world, really.
And Darling girl had COVID this summer. A medium-size blow to our family in a relentless wave. She was sick, sick enough to require emergency room visits and no small amount of panic. She was feverish with virus and I with worry and we tossed and turned, held captive by a microscopic virus but also by the last 15 months.
Feverish because I couldn’t care for her, feverish because I couldn’t control what was happening, what did happen, what will happen to any of us. Later, when I went to get my second vaccine shot, I wept in the waiting room, grieving again all the loss-the loss of control, of innocence, of life. Truly, in many moments this year, I cried out like David in the Psalms,
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast.”
Most of my prayers this year have lent themselves to lament. I am poured out, sitting empty in the darkness of grief, anxiety, and fear, wondering anew when the light will come.
But all is not lost. Did you know plants are designed to lean in the direction of their light source? Living organisms hardwired from minuscule seedlings, buried in the dark damp dirt to pull against the force of gravity, to defy the very laws of nature, orienting their baby shoots toward the life-light. Even in the dark. Even mature plants bend towards the light, elongating the cells along their stems that are furthest away to move in such a way as to maximize the light source. An irresistible, structural change orchestrated to soak up the life provided by the light.
Even as I cry, my prayer is that we will continue to bend toward the Light, to live grateful for the good gifts provided in this season. The babe is a joy to us all, a delicious drooling mess who gives kisses, babbles dada incessantly, and can’t bear to miss out on what trouble his siblings are into. We had cousin camp this summer, complete with hikes in a storm, museum jaunts, lake days, roller coasters, and one very bittersweet visit to see Papa’s grave. And I love our new home. It’s a new birth, post-Army life (coming soon for us), a source of joy even as we lament, even as we circle around renovations and unexpected repairs. A new chapter in the continuing story of us, a chapter I will attempt to write here as well.
If you made it this far, thank you for continuing to pray for us, and for the grace to understand why I am currently awful at returning phone calls and texts. Keep scrolling for a few more photos of the babes.