It’s the only word I have to describe today.
After processing last night through my fingers and posting this in the wee hours of the morning, I could never have anticipated what would come of it today…
I admit, when you have 3 little men 7,4 and 2, there is not really time to be sad, much less to shower, and so most the morning was taken up by giggles and wrestling and begging for pancakes, and we barely got out the door on time. The texts began to stream in and quite honestly, since reading Hands Free Mama, I admit that I leave my phone on silent throughout much of the day when I am with my boys, which makes me a terrible responder to calls or texts generally and not a very good every-day friend. But glancing down every so often to catch sight of a prayer or a word of sympathy or hope or an offer for chocolate, I was reminded of the reality of “the day after”and equally bolstered to keep going.
That said, around 1, my mom came to help me “fluff the house”, as she calls it; truly, it’s the best gift anyone could receive, as that entails her essentially deep cleaning while decorating and the woman has more creativity in her pinky finger than the rest of the universe. Off to three hours of tutoring, and continued glances at my phone kept me buoyed above sadness as prayers and stories and encouragement flooded in from friends and strangers alike.
Then the wave came again, in the midst of a crowded Starbucks playing Sade too loud, as I finished with my final student of the evening. I should have probably not looked at my phone just then, but in a quick glance, discovered over 60 comments on FB, over 3000 visits to the blog which has now climbed well over 4k, and upwards of 50 text messages on my phone that had steadily been streaming in all day…
The tears that came in the middle of that Starbucks fell so differently. Yesterdays tears fell hollow and empty… more ache… more unknown. Todays tears fell heavy with a mix of great joy and deep sorrow…
Such sorrow to read of so many stories of friends and strangers coming forward to share of their own journey of loss, of hope deferred. Such sorrow to know those stories are still a raw memory, still invoke tears years later, still need processing and retelling and have photos and ornaments and scars to mark the life of a short lived soul.
And yet, such joy to know that we are in this together, this grief thing. That none of us are immune and in sharing, there is camaraderie and unity and healing and hope. I hope, I hope that in you sharing, perhaps a part of you was healed, perhaps your story was given more purpose. Not all things “happen for a reason.” I am convinced that ill-conceived phrase has damaged far too many. There are some things that take place that are just mysterious and senseless because we live in a broken world. But I believe in a God that is bigger. A God that is equally mysterious and yet so good that he can take the brokenness and make it something purposeful. Beauty for ashes. Dust to life.
You, each of you, have no idea how you have helped me to heal today. I have been joyful, caught up in the giggles of little boys and the busyness of everyday carpools; I have unexpectedly reconnected with my dearest friend from middle school and shared stories, the same story of loss and of hope; I have received visitors with arms full of flowers and dinner, and a dear friend who surprised me with a prayer shawl, knitted by women from her church who prayed over it and offered it as a ministry, not knowing to whom it would be gifted in their time of need, not knowing I would be the recipient of warmth and covering and prayers uttered long before with the knowledge that God knew. I pray one day I can cover another for the same purpose and multiply their prayers.
Flowers on my doorstep and dinners and muffins and the most delightful smelling candles, and teacups and cards…. and words. Your words from near and far. Brave words, for I know that I have stood back often in times when I didn’t know someone well enough or thought my words would be awkward or perhaps unnecessary or unwelcomed. And your words and your gifts and your stories made me brave today. Marshall and I agreed that we have never in any circumstance in our lives experienced such an outpouring.
I am not done; we are not done, Lord knows. But I thank you for where you have brought me, brought us: “Further up and further in.”