Its been a long time since I have sat down and tried to write. I guess I just felt like I had nothing left to say. I have tried and tried and tried so hard this last year to have hope and by the end of December, it seems I lost it. You see, when life is hard, when finances are hard, when friendships are hard, when circumstances are hard, when health is hard, when belonging is hard, when all things are hard, hope gets hard to.
I have found myself in a place I have never been before. At a loss of hope. A lost belief that things will get better, that circumstances will change, that friendships will mend, that depression will let up and that bodies can heal.
I have suppressed so many feelings over the past to year in sake of “staying strong for the kids and for my family” and because of this, I am at the end of myself.
A few months ago, I was walking through the park with my oldest boy, watching him running through the towering trees, banging his sticks against the old, scraggly trunks, giggling as he ran and saying things like “play with me momma”, “check out this spider web”, “see momma, the sun is out today”. And in that moment, I could hardly muster a smile. As much as I tried and my heart longed, begged to feel the joy of my child, I just couldn’t. So it seems, that when you suppress the pain and the hurt for so long, you end up suppressing the joy too. In that moment, I realized I hadn’t just lost my hope, my joy was gone too. It’s like I have been stuck in a dream and watching my life go by, day by day.
Pain and grief are a fickle friend and I have allowed them to remain there for far too long. Telling myself that in time I would deal with them. In time, they would fade away into a distant memory. But instead, they have become that shadow that never leaves me.
From that moment in the park, I have come to the deep realization that my inability or unwillingness to deal with my grief and pain, I have inadvertently punished everyone in my life. I am a shell of the person I was, the person I know I am in my soul. I’m not the wife, the mother, the friend, or the person I want to be.
So, at the turning of the new year I chose a word, because to be honest, one word was all I could muster as some semblance of a resolution. The word was PRESENT. I made the conscious decision that I am going to choose to be present in the life I CURRENTLY have. Not the life I want, not the life I envisioned, not the life I dream of, but the life I have. And, I have realized that I need to allow kindness back into my life. Kindness to others, to my family, my husband, my children, and myself.
This is not the life I thought would be mine. Sometimes, I hardly recognize it as my own. But, when I take a step back, I can see the beauty. I see my husband who works endlessly and without complaint despite his nagging aches and pain so he can live out his passions and sustain a life for our family. The love he has shown me is beyond words and I feel grateful to share this life with him. I am thankful for my two beautiful boys. When I look into their eyes, it gives me strength to fight for hope, beauty, and kindness in this world. To show them that life can be very hard, but in the pain, there can also be beauty. And I am so thankful to my friends that have become family in a place where ours is far away. As much as I have struggled to find Jesus in this desert, my community has shown me love that assures me that the love of Jesus is real.
As the first month of the year comes to a close, I am trying to settle into my new resolution of PRESENCE. I am going to choose to be present with my boys as I watch them play and allow myself to laugh and smile again. I am choosing to be present in my marriage and give ourselves the chance to dream once more. I am choosing to be present to my community and live into the gifts I know are meant to be shared. And I am choosing to present to my own pain and grief, my own humanness. I am allowing my mind and body the space to feel and heal. I am going to PRESENT to the life I have been given. I am going to be PRESENT to the grief and pain, the joy, and the hope, even when it’s hard.
Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations.”