Bookended by grief

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Image courtesy of Caroline Attwood

O Lord, how long? I wonder silently, busying myself in the kitchen so perhaps it’s not so noticeable to my family, that I am really worrying way too much lately.

“Mom?” The littlest says, “Why are you quiet?”

I’m a quiet person by nature, but at home–he’s right: it’s an overflowing fountain of words of advice, funny songs, silly sayings and all sorts of things that just sort of fall out of my mouth all day. Which, depending upon things, can make me the best mom in the world some days, or the most annoying ever.

Most days, it’s the latter.

I should have known better than to keep quiet. They are so quick, so sharp, know me of course, better than I know myself.

“Mom,” he asks, “are you sad?”

Yes, I think, sucking in a big breath and heaving out a long sigh. I am sad. I am heavy with all the things of this life.

O Lord how long with all this, I pray.

I try to be a good person and a good Jesus follower. But lately, I wonder. I wonder, on days like these, emotional days or bad, bad news especially, if God is with us at all.

A thought, of course, that good, strong Christian people are not supposed to have.

O Lord, how long.

With all the things that have been unearthed. With death. With destruction. Another, another, another. I know better, to look at the news when I’m already tired and worn down.

It’s a new world He’s forming, I remind myself. It’s rebellious, it’s gloriously subversive, it’s a good thing, shaping new things out of trash, out of the utter you-know-what. That’s art if I’ve ever seen it, the true definition of redemption. 

But for the birth pains.

Eventually I will rejoice, but for the pain. But for the marks left on all of us. But for the marks left on my heart by the exquisite pain we’ve had to witness, to endure. But for the grief and anguish and confusion of these times.

It’s a wonder we can hold on at all, as for the sharp, marring edge of the shell we’re breaking out of.

In that, of course, that eventually, lies hope. A great, big hope.

But in the meantime, so much, Lord. I’m feeling bookended by grief upon grief. Anxiety upon anxiety. I forget I’m hemmed in before and behind with care.

O Lord, how I long to remember. To recall deep in my heart that I’m lovingly hemmed in before and behind, looked after. And O Lord, YES, your kingdom come. The sooner, the better.

But O Lord, how long?

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Summer is here.

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It’s summer, isn’t it?

Don’t know about you, but here it’s full-on summer: hot, muggy and well, the sorts of days you either hang out in damp bathing suits. Or take long afternoon naps followed by fresh corn for dinner. The season of simple, earthly delights.

We’re in the thick of it now; no one is dreaming in anxious anticipation about popsicles and trips anymore. We’ve already gone through several boxes of those around here.

And, we’re packing and unpacking; looking forward with delight, back with contentment. Or, well, sometimes, depending upon how the vacation/trip/family visit went, just glad to be home.

I don’t know about you, but like this time of year. These days after the sheen of the newness and excitement of the new season has worn off a little. You just settle into things for a bit.

The moments where you’re focused on enjoyment rather than anticipation.  Sitting and drinking iced tea as opposed to planning out the next weekend to manage your family’s calendar and/or sanity levels for the rest of the month. Summer: the lovely, in-between season of not rushing from one event or holiday celebration to another. Winter–looking at you. You’re suspect, as always.

No, this time of year we’re in that sweet spot: comfortable. Easing into our daily routines without the crazy-making that is May and December.

Summer. Long heated days with sometimes a swim afternoon (or day) here and there.

And a great deal of the very best days: the days too-hot or too-rainy, full of Legos, ice cream, projects and a fresh set of books to get lost in.