As most of you know and many will remember, my dad died when I was 20 – just 2 weeks shy of my 21st bday and just a week shy of his 49th. One of my strongest memories from that hard season was a day shortly after he died and I pulled up at a stop light, looked at the person in car next to me and got angry at them. Yes, I was angry at a perfect stranger. I was angry because they were acting as if nothing had happened and I wanted to roll down the window and scream ‘how can you go about your normal business and act like nothing happened?! Don’t you know my dad just died?!??’ Well, of course, they didn’t. And, naturally, they were continuing their business as if nothing had happened. Thankfully, I didn’t roll down my window but I think that’s only because my little brother, Josh, was in the car. But I remember so well the sobering reality that my world seemed to be crashing to a hal while others’ lives went on. And, since then, I often reflected about the reality of life going on while others around me may be hurting. My dad’s death taught me many lessons about how to love the hurting and grieving. And that lesson was on my short list: life goes on. As well as, I also remind myself: keep grieving with folks well past the funeral because your life goes on but their grief lingers. [Sidenote: For those of you who were there during that season of my life, I have 2 thoughts: 1. Thanks for STILL being here! And 2. How crazy and almost creepy and hard-to-fathom is it that my husband is actually older than my dad was when he died? To his credit, Scott doesn’t look his age! But where oh where does the time go and how are we aging so fast and is my husband really gonna be 50 next month? Anyways…]
So, what does this have to do with pink, prayers or love?! Well I asked the Lord the other night if there was anything to update our faithful friends who have cared and prayed for us. And the phrase ‘life goes on’ came to my mind and heart. I can’t with full conviction say it was from the Lord because my brain just bounces around like a pinball machine (with all the bells and whistles) at night when I can’t sleep. Thank you, menopause, for all the ways you teach me how much I took a good nights sleep for granted. Anyways, whether truly a response to my asking the Lord or just an idea for a blog post, I’m not sure. But, for those who have asked for updates, that summarizes our reality today: life goes on.
I feel more and more like we are back in a routine as a family without the help with Lincoln or meals or chores. It’s nice to feel ‘normal’ and back to a simpler life – even if I occasionally miss clean laundry or hot meals appearing on our porch. I have even gotten back into other things I’ve missed – I had the privilege of teaching at a retreat for our South Dallas friends and even found myself daydreaming and praying about teaching another Bible study again. Between marriage and then Lincoln and then cancer, those thoughts and desires have been on the back burner for a long time but it seems like the Lord is again lighting those flames of service and opportunities. Again, its a reminder that life goes on.
At the same time, as our family comes out of the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ surrounded by sickness and suffering on a regular basis and our life goes on, it’s hard to watch other friends struggle. Since my diagnosis, we’ve been with friends as they’ve buried mothers that were diagnosed and died within months, watched friends lose babies both in their wombs and in their arms, seen other young friends diagnosed with breast cancer, saddened by the news of friends’ parents with aggressive spreading cancer diagnoses [word of the day: did you know that plural of diagnosis is diagnoses? Now you won’t have to look it up like I did!], seen friends suffer through unemployment, grieved with friends who unexpectedly lost their mom to a brain aneurism, and hurt for a friend who was a victim of the Lake Highlands rapist. So, while our life goes on, we are sad for friends who might pull up by us at a stop light and scream, “how can you act like nothing has happened?!?”
For me, the hardest reality of life going on are the bulging bellies around me. With the news that we’d be hard pressed to have any more biological children, I knew that it would be hard to watch others, especially women who were pregnant when I was, prepare for a little brother or sister. As Linc approaches 2 (June 1), I knew I’d see more bulging bellies and while I’m genuinely happy for them it also reminds me of our loss. While they go to the doctor for checkups, I go to get shots to make sure a baby doesn’t happen. Sure, sure, sure. I know, I know, I know that Lincoln is an amazing unexpected perfectly-timed gift and we ARE so very thankful. But I’m still sad. I firmly believe that joy and sadness can co-exist. And, yes, I know we could possibly adopt. But even with that hope, I still have sadness. Sadness for us but also for Lincoln. When I see siblings playing together (or even fighting and learning valuable life lessons through relationships), I’m sad for our little guy who may not have the gift of siblings. I pray toward that end and ask for the Lord to grow our family but also try to accept the reality that life goes on. [By the way, Scott is quite happy with an only child. I would like more. And, while I’m expressing my desires for all of y’all to read and possibly pray, I am quite partial to darker skin – of any age.] I’m at an interesting place – I readily identify with mothers over the joy of motherhood but also grieve with my single friends or women facing infertility as we live with unfulfilled desires. Life goes on. Thankfully, God goes with us. Actually, He goes before us – just like He did in giving us Lincoln. And He will make the rough places smooth. Some days, this is a rough place. But He is more than able to guide us on this unfamiliar path and smooth our path. This was the verse the Lord put on my heart for my first post in February of last year. He has been faithful to keep His promises in Isaiah 42:16:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
And I love the first couple of verses of the next chapter (Isaiah 43:1-3):
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
These are sweet truths and great reminders. Life goes on. But He goes with us. And with you. I pray that reality is near and sweet to you today.
Thanks for your continued inquiries about our family. God has indeed smoothed the rough paths. And, thanks for praying with us as we trust that He will continue to guide us on unfamiliar paths.