small deaths and resurrections

Maybe it’s my age.

Maybe it’s these small children and their unequaled talent for making every day (hour. moment.) a roller coaster. No better metaphor for the soaring, giddy love and the stomach-dropping worry (and none more haunting for me, lover of the ground).

Maybe it’s the narratives of Christ newly at work in my mind and my heart.

But whatever it is: all I see, everywhere around me, is life as a series of tiny deaths and resurrections.

Friendships that collapse under the weight of too-different lived realities and selfishness and small failures of heart and word, only to swell and rise again in surprisingly sweet ways.

Hopes for hard-earned dream jobs vanishing in a phone call and taking self-worth with them as they disappear. New – smaller, humbler – hopes rising in the bruised places that remain. Hopes that hurt to the touch, that make you wince, and yet.

Feeling like you must be doing something wrong raising your sons because: why are they so violent? Sword, stick, mean guys, hunters. From whence – in my quiet, simple, peaceful home – does this come, this obvious failure, this obvious failure of mine. And then a call. A book on its way. A setting down of old narratives (always) and an embracing of what is and must always have been: an attraction for power that I cannot feel but that I must make space for. That I must, even, love. And then I do, suddenly. Love.

The ebbflowebbflowebbflow of marriage. Marriage with young children. Marriage, which dies. Marriage which is miraculously reborn in a look or a letter or twenty minutes, finally, of eye contact and a shared blanket. Not a trip or a date or a romantic gesture, but a shared blanket and a little bit of truth. Marriage, which is sweeter than I could have guessed, not in spite of the deaths, but for them. Not less sweet, but sweeter, though also so much like a bruise. Like the place in my spine, my mid-back, that is always sore to the touch, but which I long to have touched.

Defeat. Triumph. They come hourly. They go. They stay, some of them, layering on top of one another until they form a mountain on which you stand, often feeling alone. A mountain from which the world just looks different. Not better or worse, but so different.

Another year in this humble gift of a house with the snow piled up outside and the sun shining. Shining today. More liminality, and another chance to learn to accept it as the only thing that won’t ever go. Dreams clung to. Dreams discarded. Dreams wrenched away. Dreams you never would have thought you’d dream rising into your heart and surprising your mind. Making you smile. Making it all new again. Scaring you again.

Boys that belly laugh and boys that hit and boys that cry and boys that kiss. Heartbreak and gratitude at turns. At once. The work of trying to notice. To just notice. To die and come back again and just notice.

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3 thoughts on “small deaths and resurrections

  1. You write so beautifully.
    I am sorry to hear about the job. And the trying times with the boys. And the marriage. Things are not easy, but they will be okay. They may work out better than hoped for, though sometimes it’s hard to believe that could be true.

  2. I am also sorry to hear about the job — so very sorry. And kids do pose such a constant challenge. I have wondered about violence in our house too. People like to say “that’s how boys are” but both of my kids get in on it, and we have never done anything to promote or encourage it, they don’t go to school or spend time with violent kids, and they have very limited exposure to media.

  3. I was just reading a really interesting FB thread on gun play in very peaceful, self-aware, engaged, empowered and homeschooling parents (between other parents of similar backgrounds). It’s a developmental phase, exploring morality, boundaries and power play. It’s something to be acknowledged, but not fussed over. It is not a reflection of you having done something “wrong”. It is simply “the way kids are”, as they begin to understand the people around them as PEOPLE. I remember the first time I consciously stepped on a snail, I was surprised at how HORRIBLE I felt, the weight of having taken a life really impacted me and deepened my empathy. Now I catch and release. Even snails and slugs I find in my patio garden go into the compost (although I have chucked them over the edge in a fit of rage when I discovered several of them had consumed AN ENTIRE BASIL PLANT in an evening).

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