I feel like a changed woman.
This is not an exaggeration, praise God.
You guys, Esmae slept last night from 7:00-6:20, cried a little and slept again until 6:40.
Getting out of bed this morning felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. Looking into the mirror, I wasn’t horrified by the dark rings under my eyes. I didn’t cringe when Martell yelled from upstairs, “I’m awake, Mommy! DADDY, I’m awaaaakkkkkeeee!” I wasn’t all that upset when he spilled my coffee either, because I thought, “it turns out, sleep is the new coffee.”
Like I said, c h a n g e d W O M A N. Hallelujah.
Walking out the door this morning I realized that fall really did creep up on us like a little thief in the night. I took a deep breath of cool air, and my eyes watered a little bit, the way they do when the cold surprises all of my senses at once. Fall is the season that lights a little fire in my heart, which is the only thing that keeps this always-cold-wimp warm through the season change. I love the colors of the leaves. I love the smells of them burning, I love the sound of them crackling. I love it all more when it’s combined with a happy two-and-a-half-year-old playing outside without an absurd number of mosquito bites or a sweat-soaked tee shirt. It’s back to the time of year again when soups are a welcomed menu item for cold-footed moms, picky-eating toddlers, and always-hungry husbands.
As many of us bask in the glow of the trees’ lost sanctuary, I can’t help but think of my friends and family who grieve another summer come and gone without a swollen middle, or a bundle of life, staring up at them like a mirror with matching baby blues or browns or greens, nestled safely in their arms. I can’t help but cry at the number of months and years that have passed when over and over again, their hearts have bled the same blood for the loss of their most palpable dreams and the loss of so many sweet lives to a world too wrecked to embrace them rightly.
What I wouldn’t give to have the power to heal your bodies and your hurts—to take it all away—and give you the deepest, truest desires of your hearts. What affliction you’ve endured—shots and pills and diets and appointments and long drives and tears and disappointments and despair. What I wouldn’t give to erase from your memory the questions from strangers and family and friends that require you to scrape up all of the grace you can to respond with kindness that if you could, you would. I so wish I could be the courage you need to be genuinely happy for yet another friend or relative or complete stranger who has conceived (again). Sometimes I truly do wish I could bear your load for you, to give you a day off—so you can experience rest in your here and now without the nagging despondency.
Life is full of surprises. Sometimes they’re unwelcome, gradual ones that begin to dissolve your confidence; ones that leave you questioning the Lord, who’s supposed kindness keeps excluding you from the inner circle, so-to-speak. Here is where words fall short, dear friend. I wish I could go on a wild treasure hunt right now for all of the right ones to string together poetically in order to place a deep compression on the wound and stop the flow.
But I can’t.
In my limited understanding of suffering, all I can say is that when the load is too heavy to bear, He promises to carry it; when the tears stream, unrelenting, He promises to keep them in His jar so as to redeem them in our healed eternity; when the disappointment returns, falling out of our fumbling, unsteady hands too quickly for us to protect its’ delicacy, He bends low into the wreckage not to reassemble the pieces as they once were, but to shuffle them and create something more wonky than expected, but fiercer and more uniquely beautiful. When hope seems too much to muster, know I’m hoping for you, and I’ll never stop. The suffering we endure here is but a drop in the vast ocean of glory, above us all, nestled in the embrace of the arms that were stretched on our behalf. Keep running there with all that’s left of your feeble might, for when nothing here stops the bleeding, He can.
Beyond the shadow of any doubt, I know He can. Loving you today as the leaves bleed red.