Sometimes Hope is a Dark Shade of Pink

Screenshot-2014-08-08-00.02.04

I gave up writing for lent. Okay, I didn’t really do that and that’s a bad joke anyway. I gave up writing this year because of the way writing takes me to places in my heart I have not wanted to go to again. Indeed, as I started this post last night, I needed to process the hard again, but while I was doing that I was also reminded of the grace again. Because like it or not, they do tend to go together much of the time.

In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis says, “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”

Ah, and that’s the thing. I accept truth in my head, but my heart is a much harder sell. When I look back on 2014 my immediate memories are the sad ones, and…sometimes I think I actually want to dwell there as though that’s all I’ve been given this year, just bypassing the grace altogether. I think accepting grace this year means accepting the loss too and I’m not sure I’ve been willing to do that…yet.

But now I risk it. I look back and I see the grace in this year: In a friend’s second marriage, in canoeing on the lake of the camp that should have burned to the ground two years ago, in taking my still-grieving dad bowling and seeing a momentary joy come back into his eyes, in seeing success at a job I started doing just for fun, in watching the artist in my 12yo start to blossom, in…so many other ways.

It’s there. It’s all around me. It’s that dark pink shade of hope creeping around the corner of my despair.

And I’m just now coming to terms with the understanding that I don’t have to give up one in order to embrace the other. They were meant to be experienced together.

Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
 Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
 The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Stepping Back into a Scary Place

WritingSometimes sadness gives way to success, if you want to call it that. I can think of several gals who, after experiencing or currently experiencing really super hard things, started writing about it and became internet-famous. I remember praying once that I would be okay with a lifetime of mediocre blogging if it meant I didn’t have to experience the things those gals have had to. Because I’m super deep like that.

As it turns out, I have nothing to worry about. For me, sadness simply gives way. It dries me up. It takes me to a dark, lonely place where, even if there are people out there who understand and maybe want to walk me through it, I simply do not want to go there and thus I don’t.

I just looked back at my blog. The last post was April 8 and the post before that January 28. Prior to this year, it could be said I spent too much time on my blog. And now: nothing.

January ushered in a six-week period of hell in my heart. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is just such a terrible thing and no words can adequately describe how it feels to watch someone you love experience the devastation of that. When my mom died in February, I knew it was coming, so I felt like I should have been a little more prepared. People lose their parents every day, right? But I don’t. I hadn’t. And then suddenly I did and in truth, I wasn’t ready for it and I’m still angry about it. And it’s been almost six months. So six months shouldn’t still be preventing someone from writing about it, talking about it, crying about it, right? But there is a place deep inside me that feels like I used up all of my grief capital with people ages ago and I should really move on now.

Likewise, our foster care story turned the page into a really sad chapter in February as well. And as it happened during the same month of caring for my mom during her last days, we just closed the foster care book for a while. For almost six months.

Next week we open it back up again and add two babies to the chaos of our lives and I must say, it doesn’t feel nearly as romantic as it did the first time we welcomed a new child into our home for a short stay. Our experiences with the system have tainted me, frightened me, and made me second-guess our involvement altogether.

And yet, here we go. Life is just incessant in its constant ready-or-not-here-I-come railroading of my existence.

But then, what would it be if we just stayed in the same place forever?

I imagine…it would be death.