because i get constantly get phone calls from school telling me he tried to stab a teacher with a pencil or that he tried to cut himself with a pencil sharpener blade or that he’s mad and can i calm him down. because he asks me so many questions and has so many issues and arguments that by 7:00 p.m. i can’t even remember what i did earlier on in the day. because he goes to school every day and his best friend is his teacher. because his remorse and sadness is sometimes too much for my weary heart. because every day i’m pretty sure God could have chosen someone better. because i spend all day frustrated and all night feeling guilty. because i’m at a loss for how to help my child. because in this captured moment, my heart melts, and i can set aside my fears and frustrations and simply see a human being…loving his cousin…needing desparately to be loved. and i’m pretty sure God gave him to me more for my sake than vice versa.
“My dad told me this once. For a wheat seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”
-The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp-
I haven’t written lately because I haven’t had much to say. And because some thoughts take longer to gestate than others. Sometimes life has a way of washing over you like the ocean wave you didn’t see coming and suddenly, you’re not thinking in words, you’re just trying to figure out which way is up and how to find your breath again. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the older I get, the more I have to fight to hang on to hope and not give in to cynicism. I have to work harder to see the glass half full instead of half empty. I worry more than I ever have. With the way the world is and a house full of present and upcoming teenagers, I recognize how much I stand to lose and how little control I possess. And I just don’t have enough…enough patience, enough energy, enough love. Many days feel like a battle, a monotonous drudgery at best. And I become frustrated with myself that I can’t be more upbeat, less of a Debbie Downer, more like someone else, anyone else…
However, what I am being reminded of, is that there is no one who escapes life without struggle. It is a part of the cycle of life. Even if we lived in a utopian world, we would war within ourselves. But like a forgotten memory I am starting to recall a time when I knew better…a time when I was able to hold suffering in greater esteem. Like birth pain, the struggle is more intense when you fight it, when you try to eradicate it. I have forgotten that the best way to deal with pain is to breathe and lean into it, remembering that pain can give birth to breathtaking beauty.
I guess the last few months have left me feeling a bit like a wheat seed…like my outer layer has been has been smashed open, my insides spewed carelessly about. And it kind of feels like complete destruction. But perhaps, if I can learn to accept all of life with grace, humility and gratitude, this “destruction” can be the springboard into new life. The Orthodox church has a saying, “Out of death springs life.” They serve boiled wheat at funerals and memorial services to physically remind people that death is not the end. It is a good reminder that sometimes we need to be “undone” before we can become “done.” And like the smallest sprout, I feel hope start to grow again. Although pain is not something I feel the need to seek out, I also can feel the frantic need to escape it seeping away. As wind and water can erode granite, so can pain shape and wear away my rough edges. Sometimes it feels like life cracks us wide open to pain. But perhaps, it is cracking us open to healing, breaking us so that we can live life fully. I hope and pray that my soul will settle in, lean in, and learn to graciously accept all that comes to me with peace of soul and the firm conviction that all is sent to me for my benefit.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies…”