- photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/val-er-ie/14343350693
These days are full. My desk holds more piles of tasks and needs than I can tackle in a lifetime, nevertheless in 30 hours each week. My children hold more needs for their own flourishing than I could ever provide them, even if I quit my job and gave each hour to the labor of mothering. My grandfather lies in a hospice bed an hour away. His sons wait upon him as he approaches his final hours. They watch his fragile frame and listen to his breathing. He holds more needs than his body can fulfill any longer, even if the drugs and the care continued.
There are limits to who we are and what we can do. Continue reading
The life is known: baby brother, boy #3. The name is close to being known. The items have all been retrieved from storage. He moves and kicks, perhaps even practicing prenatal yoga. And yet now is still the waiting time. 13 more weeks. It is too early for him to burst forth, breathe this common air, and join this human pilgrimage . His presence may be growing more pronounced every day, but we are still living in the pregnant pause.
The life is known: a return to Louisville for the next chapter. The jobs are secured. Our home will return to our possession next summer. Our minds leap and jump and stretch. We imagine the ways our life will return to “normal” and the ways it will feel as an all new beginning. The year cannot be rushed nor the days counted down. The days prescribed have too much to teach us. We are living in the pregnant pause.
It will come amidst the noise from the ride, our youngest yelling at the top of his lungs, “Stop sign!” (“top tign!” in 2.5 year old articulation). It is not worry that Mommy is missing it, but instead his pure joy over the sight of it. Bright red with its white border and block letters, when was the last time I cried out in joy at the invitation to STOP?
Amidst the Advent activities at home, the youngest could use a personal stop sign. He mourns each day that he cannot consume the Advent season in one fell swoop – opening every door on the calendar, eating every chocolate piece, lighting every candle, coloring in each day.
“Wait,” I tell him. “You must be patient. Advent is the season of waiting for God’s coming into the world. You cannot rush it.”
“Prayers of the people” that I wrote for last Sunday’s service – words I share so that I might remember them for the times I wait for companionship, direction, or no one.
Forever and ever.
The scripture’s haunting words have stuck with me this morning. Like a taunting whisper, they echo throughout my mind.
The house sits empty across the street. The one who loved it most is no more. Mr. John died this past week. A solitary man, he kept to himself. No car. No close family. He was independent, talkative, and kind.
They carried his body out yesterday. The package that sat on the front steps for the whole week should have given it away. The smell of death spilled into the street and I can’t quite shake it. The house his parents called home is all that remains. But the image of mother, father, and son reunited redeems even an empty house and lingering smells.
Forever and ever. Continue reading
To my dear friend on your first day on the job,
I can only imagine how it felt this morning as you pulled up to the church with two kids in the back. Dropping them off with the “goodbyes” and the nervous “be a good listener” before you walked those hallways and stairwells to your office on your first day as senior pastor. I’m sure a beaded necklace adorned your chest and a smile spread brightly and permanently across your face as you walked through offices giving your usual good mornings. They were always a staple in my life for the past six years. I’m glad a new crop of people can start their day with your abundant welcome.
After pleasantries, you arrive at the much-anticipated moment. The door closes and you sit at your empty desk. The job description suddenly becomes less a document of certainty and more a question of discernment of the logistics. The massive office must have felt so foreign after living in your closet-turned-office that people passed on the way to the restroom each day. The desk and seating area must have felt so ominous and expectant.
I couldn’t help but keep looking down at him as we walked along. His hand gripped mine and his thoughts poured out of his mouth. Four and a half and he is growing into this little boy full of curiosity, feelings, and imagination. Is it possible to grow in awe of Life every year that passes? Can my heart expand to hold it all? I squeezed his hand every few minutes as I felt the waves of time lapping into me.
As another year goes round and I add a number to my age, I can’t help but find myself lost in the vastness of it all. What is this life that I lead? With what, to whom, am I to live it?
Outside our windows, change is at work.
The trees are letting go of their leaves.
The skies are letting go of their composure.
The season is letting go of its resistance.
Inside, the day is slow. And yet, change is at work.
Arms moving frantically, the oldest maneuvers the trains around the tracks. While little brother naps, he enjoys the quiet solitude that settles in and gives space for his imagination to live without the brother’s grasping and demolishing hands. He sings “Going on a Bear Hunt” off and on, intermixed with crashing sounds and imaginary dialogue amongst the trains.
Staring at him, I try to uncover and bring to the light the change I feel. His fourth birthday has brought about all the cliche bittersweet feelings. My eyes lock on his face and as he asks for help, I loose myself in his eyes as I wonder… how do four years feel both long and short at the same time? It feels like I’ve been parenting forever. And yet it feels too soon to be entering big kid territory. The power of looking in his eyes can feel almost threatening. I don’t know how to quantify it. I don’t know how to predict it. With each milestone, each year, I wonder… what hard lessons are yet to be faced? What is yet to come before us? What aspects of life are going to threaten to undo him, and me? Continue reading