Choosing To Rejoice
As we arrived back from my sister’s home, I find myself back under the familiar clouds of loneliness and sadness. When we were with my family, I felt secure, I felt protected, I felt that the grief was ‘doable’. But then we got back, and as grateful as I was for my friend to be there waiting for us at the airport, my chest tightened, because I wish with all my heart that my husband would be the one there to welcome us home.
Every day my mind wonders back and forth on too many overwhelming things, while my soul fidgeting amongst too many anxious thoughts: How do I mend my broken heart? How do I find joy for me and my girls again? How do I rebuild my life?
I opened my eyes early this morning and I could hear my youngest daughter was already up. She was busy preparing herself for her first day of high school. Mixed emotions - the desire to grow up tangled with the longing to remain a child just a little longer. The all familiar fear of what is new and unknown interweaving the excitement of the future possibilities. The heartache that he is not here to be a part of this important day.
She is ready. Looking all grown up in her tidy uniform, her hair up on a 'not soo tidy' top knot. She knows her Dad would be so proud she is going to his old school. Her bag filled with brand new stationary, her face filled with expectation.
I’m not ready. She is growing up too fast, I don’t have a formula to do this
sole parenting’ in a tidy way. I don’t have her Dad here to tell me it will all be okay. My head filled with brand new worries, my heart filled with nostalgia.
We wait in an auditorium packed with a few hundred students starting high school today. She is one of many. Just another face amongst white polo shirts and black skirts on the bleachers. But not to me. Never to me. I see her. I truly see her.
She wants to find a friend, to like her new teacher, to fit in. I pray a silent prayer, that she will become a good friend, that she will respect and honor her teachers, that she will find out and learn to celebrate how unique and exceptional she is.
I pray another silent prayer, that I may know what to do next, that I may have courage to keep going, that my mind, my heart and my soul be healed so that I can be the mother she and her sister need me to be. I pray that I may somehow find a way to provide for them, and that I may thrive, not just survive.
A scripture pops up on my phone’s screen: “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24)
So I tell myself that, even though the pain of Jason’s absence still grips my hear and grief is always my unwanted companion, there are good things to celebrate in my life. I choose today to rejoice, not in spite of suffering, but amidst it. I choose today to be grateful for the bitter-sweet moments and for the milestones. I choose to be glad that I am still here one more day to see my kid go to high school in a tidy uniform, and to miss my husband because he has left an imprint on my heart and a life of plenty wonderful things to miss.
I choose to rejoice that I have my girls - my beautiful, smart, compassionate, caring and almost grown up girls - and although I feel weak, sad and stuck, I also have my faith in a God who is the expert in mending broken hearts, in turning sorrow into joy and in making all things brand new.