my life goes on in endless song

I always imagined this space to be primarily about witness. Witness of lives unfolding; a record of a journey; a set of journeys running alongside one another for whatever time was permitted.

I still imagine it to be so, though it was once a record of marriage. It was once about trying to make new life, the struggles of that hard work. It was always about God, for me at least, but it was once about God from outside institutions devoted to the holy.

Life changes, it does.

And yet the idea of forsaking this space, of casting it aside, feels wrong. Inaccurate somehow. Like a lie. We are not a series of stops and starts, but one long purple line, as Harold might draw it.

This place is witness. We are still breaking into blossom. We break; we blossom. We are not permitted the latter without the former, so our prayer must be always to return to the latter. To see it. To receive it with whatever gratitude we can muster.

Bram turned five more than a month ago now, which is a thing of great beauty. Lou will turn three later this month. J has what we call a nest, which is only a handful of blocks away from the home I thought we’d share for the rest of our lives.

The nights I spend without the boys are the darkest I’ve ever known. They are, as one friend said, the shadow of the valley of death. The house is an empty chamber. It feels like nothingness, as do I. Like air void even of oxygen. Nothing can make up for their absence: no person, no strong drink. I have come to expect the waves of panic and despair. They come and go as they will, and I am required merely to weather them.

I have never been without a partner, not for more than a few months. Not in my whole adult life. And not without J for a decade, which is, it turns out, a long time. And so, though the temptation is there to fill this space with the certainty of someone new – someone solid enough to anchor me, someone beloved – I am called away from that impulse. The call is painful, and yet it is clear. I listen. I wait. Not now.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and my thoughts are with our beloved sons. And with their sister, whose ashes are held in a tiny, pretty urn in the same room where – in the grey light of this late winter day – they will receive ashes on their foreheads.

I’m thinking too about how little I understand time: my dad gone four years now, J having moved on, and my children growing at a speed that leaves me dizzy. The losses mount and startle, but the gifts are relentless and just as surprising.

I am facing this Ash Wednesday as a mama, and a minister, and a breakable human. I am grieving, and I am standing still. My God is a slaughtered lamb, and the demands of that truth are weighty, and exhausting, and worthy of the time they require.

I plan to write here as part of my Lenten discipline. I have stories to tell, and I will do my best to tell them.

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10 thoughts on “my life goes on in endless song

  1. I was JUST thinking of this space and what would become of it. Blessings to you and your grace to move forward with love.

    • It is not easy, sister, but I’m pretty sure it’s the damn work.

      Thinking of you and your community like mad right now. I cannot imagine how much fear and exhaustion this must bring.

    • Was it revealed? I’d love to know what you’re doing. Thank you for the branch of connection. It is, as is always true, deeply valued.

  2. I love that song. I always thought of it as meaning life goes on in this beautiful endless harmony… but I guess not all music is liked by me and sometimes there isn’t harmony. I hope we sing it in church this week.

    • I wish we would sing it in church! And I agree: in the sweeter moments, the harmony feels inevitable. And yet not all the moments are so.

      Thank you for making contact.

    • I think of you too, Erica. The many paths… I at once love mine and still long for yours. I’d love to know how it is treating you.

  3. …above Earth’s lamentations….

    Love this song as well. I am glad to read an update from you, though sad about what the update brings. Sending love and light to all of you.

  4. Theodore whipped his head back and hit me in the face this afternoon and I went to my room and cried and thought of you with a broken ankle and a safe baby and felt less alone.

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