For long stretches, the boys turned from bodies-in-motion to bodies-in-wonder as they stood out in the waves and watched the ocean water crashing in upon their legs. I’m sure they squealed at the wonder of it all, but their noises did not reach me as I sat on the sand. I marveled at the scene. The waves were powerful forces that represented equal parts wonder and danger. But the boys did not waver before the waves for they held their father’s hand.
Holding my father’s hand, I have learned that strength is both fought for (feet pounding upon pavement for miles) and received (hands open in humility). Not sought for its own sake, strength is nurtured for the process of creating something true, something beautiful, and something enduring for the world to enjoy. My father has been my gardener who cultivates within me curiosity for life’s mysteries, appreciation for humanity’s story, and the practice of sowing kindness lavishly over all soil. I am who I am because I have held my father’s hand.
Holding my husband’s hand, I have learned that life is better lived in collaboration. Alone, I can ensure the survival of our sons. Together, we can ensure the flourishing of them. He is my partner with whom we are crazy enough to believe that we can raise these boys no matter what the day brings. He is steadfast and content in a way that tempers my intensity. He nurtures the boys’ courage to take risks and exemplifies fidelity to his commitments. Our boys are becoming who they are because they hold their father’s hands.
The waves are full of wonder and full of danger, but hand-in-hand we persist and are transformed.
For all the fathers who hold hands, I pause and give thanks.
Ten years since your passing, I devote my morning to you on this anniversary. Amidst getting the oldest to the bus stop, feeding the youngest, and “being with” the middle, I have tried to write you to somehow connect with you across time and space. The written word is insufficient. My memories are starting to show wear and tear. The distance from your family during this sabbatical year makes the time and space feel all the more insurmountable.
The reality of your death feels more comfortable than the memory of it. When the memory is fresh, then it feels like news – when your death was newly received or noteworthy; when it was not true and then when it suddenly was. Living in the space of time close to when it might not have been makes me remember the inherent hope that there could be some cosmic re-ordering of events in time that could right the wrong, fix the mortal problem, or resurrect the recently dead. Continue reading
The oldest yearns for support, appreciation, and encouragement for his creativity. The middle yearns for constant presence and companionship. The youngest yearns for basic needs and safety. Ultimately, their hearts yearn for our God who covenants with God’s people to offer purpose, belonging, and refuge. They seek The Promise.
My world revolves around The Promise. I am its steward who dispenses The Promise. I am its agent who puts The Promise in action. I am its incarnation whose very physical being embodies The Promise. I am created in the image of The Promise. I am a mother. Continue reading
Like all seasons of life, this sabbatical year has been beautiful and brutal. It has been bitter and sweet. It has held great joys that I have relished and great griefs that I have lamented. There have been moments that have been good and moments that have been good for me.
Along the way, I have wrapped each negative feeling with a purpose. By God’s persistent grace, I have journaled my way from loneliness to self-reflection, from loss of career to personal re-stocking of wisdom, from loss of community to gained a connection with the common experience of living far from home. Though our return to Louisville is only a few months away, my endurance for resting and reframing has begun to run low. Continue reading
It makes such sense that we resort to eggs filled with candy, bunny rabbits, elaborate lunches, and our finest clothes. How else would we function without a few simple rituals while we immerse ourselves in the violence of Good Friday and the absurdity of Easter morning.
I read the Easter story to the boys last night. In place of our regular bedtime books, I told them of bitter weeping and swords and clubs, the crowds and the single kiss, provocation and condemnation, pointed fingers and shouts of rage, denial and silence, isolation and public execution.
The boys’ eyes grew wide and little bodies so still. They were captivated, confused, and even a bit scared. They kept pushing for me to turn the page and read one more story as if that next page might resolve the tension or provide some absolution to the violence. But I knew this wasn’t possible. The next page merely added another layer to the complex mystery whose miracle exists with wounds still fresh. I knew that the story of our resurrected Lord is one of a breathing but punctured body at the hands of human atrocity.
I greet the day as it is and I bring myself as I come. I come before the loading dock ready to be refitted for the living of this day.
In the silence, I empty all the unresolved conflicts, weighed imperfections, and simmering resentments from my weary arms. I stretch my arms loose until I settle into a new posture, limber in the excessive freedom of one spoiled by a God boundless in love and grace. Continue reading
By the time I reached the car, rain drops had already began their assault. I quickly started the car, opened my phone to detect GPS’ best route home, and set out down the block. My weather app struggled to pull up the radar, as if it sensed all the dark greens, oranges, and reds would be just too much to handle. Continue reading