It’s afternoon here on a cold, bright Sunday. Both boys fell asleep on the drive back from brunch, and though I should transfer them, there is pleasure in the sun shining in through my car windows and the vibration of the engine still running. I can hear them breathing. I can see the leaves falling from the trees in my backyard.
Our nation is in trouble. My marriage is in trouble. That word falls short on both fronts. These are not things I would choose, but the first theological rule is: what is, is.
“Here we are,” I have learned to say this past month, and again this past week. Here we are. Violence around us, and fear and blindness. Heartache. Here we are.
I want to stand still. I can move through but cannot live in the emotions of suffering: shock, terror, rage, anguish. The small pleasures of each moment are everything these days, and I’m becoming brave enough to live in them. The feel of a boy-hand sliding itself into mine. Warm skin. A friend’s open-mouthed laughter. My mom’s voiced smile. Hot cocoa from a thermos made for sharing. Sisters who will read me to sleep while I shake. Sisters and brothers who answer the phone. Kindness anywhere it shows up, in whatever form.
How I linger to admire, admire, admire the things of this world that are kind.
Winter is coming, and I’m breathing my way into that. Disappearing days and clean, white, paralyzing snow. I cannot save us from anything. I am, by circumstance, more hermit than hero. But I can watch these boys sleep through my rear-view mirror. I can look at the sun on Lou’s face and worry that his cheeks are too hot. I can bake until our whole house smells like gingerbread. I can kneel down and embrace and receive wet kisses. I couldn’t pray for awhile, but I can again. Reaching beyond the enormous gulf and into the eternal, which is vast enough to restore me. My image for faith: a high open window.
One day I hope our kids will read this space. Everything I’ve written here is for them. We are made of stories. We get to choose how we tell them. We get to choose how we tell them.