She sits uneasily on a cushion of air pockets to help ease the pain in her bones. Another bone is at the breaking point, consumed by the cancer that has chewed up and spat out the fragments of bones too numerous to count.
We eat éclairs and drink tea out of antique hand-painted china cups. Sometimes you have to stare death in the face and celebrate anyway. Sometimes you can stare death in the face and celebrate anyway because someone else has stared it down first and come out singing.
We grip hands – the only part of her body I can hug without breaking her – and pray. Lament, pleas, praise – all mix together in this holy space. And it is good.
* * * * *
I write and relive pieces of my story, our story. There is reason we’re told to remember.
The new stack of disability forms lies open on the counter, waiting for my pen.
I walk and pray and wonder what I can say that might be gift to the friend who has lost her husband, her daughter; to the one who can scarcely dress herself for the pain; to the ones homeschooling four kids or working three jobs or struggling to get out of bed and face the next hours of confusing life. I have no words.
The question shifts: What are the things I believe with all my heart, the things I lose sight of, sometimes, but return to again and again? They’re simple things, familiar. When life is calm I can race past them, or fall asleep in their presence. But when the wind rises, here is where I cling. Sometimes we don’t need new; we just need to remember.
You are loved – so much more than you can imagine.
This God who gathers our tears never wastes anything. Especially pain.
Everything – everything – is an invitation to come closer. Broken bones and shattered marriages; new life and the laughter of hope reborn; unanswered questions and overflowing inboxes and too-long lines of people all wanting your attention. He says it best, this one who knows that the only place we can ever find rest is in his arms: “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will rest you.” (Matt 11:28)