Two weeks ago today, I wrote about being shattered. But even in the middle of it, how a dear friend, and then a gracious community, provided tremendous support.
Even through that heartbreak, and the fallout, I held on to an amazing miracle I knew I’d share here at some point. I talked about small miracles a month ago and how a big miracle was en route.
I kept trying to write the post last Sunday. Finally able to tell the tale. But life gets in the way and writing during the summer is even harder than writing during the school year.
Thursday morning, the miracle got pulled. Rescinded. The rug I was barely still standing on was pulled out from under me.
I eked out a teary prayer request on a Voxer message to a couple of friends and dug my fingernails in my palms as I smiled and danced my way through the final day of VBS.
Once I’d dropped the kids off at parties, I crumbled. Sobs I could barely breathe through stood in stark contrast to the numb response I’d had to being shattered.
Y’all, this has been a really hard year.
It could be so much worse, I know. We are all alive. We’re not in a hospital. We’re not without a home or food or a school. I know that millions of people have it a thousand times worse right now.
But this piece of news was the final straw.
How, I implored God, could you let me think this amazing thing would happen and then pull it back? Why, I screamed in my head? What purpose could this possibly serve? I’d rather have not ever had the news than to have it, make plans based on it, and then see it torn away and actually worsen my status quo.
We all five drove to the farm for Father’s Day, as is our annual tradition. I’d taken vacation. I sat, that first night, on the back porch of the bayou house and drank a glass of wine as the sun set on the water and shut down.
One of the books on my list to read is Liturgy of the Ordinary. I reflected on the title as I tried to process and heal during this ordinary weekend. I baked a cake. Words and cooking and travel heal me. So I made homemade potato salad and tried to write and took a ride in the bayou boat at sunset. I washed and dried and folded laundry. I swept the floor.
The kids played in the background and I functioned. Sometimes, functioning in these most ordinary of tasks does a deeper work. Liturgy of the Ordinary says it’s in these small, overlooked tasks we can find God’s presence.
One of my best friends texted me this, I know this feels like a betrayal from God but we can’t yet see the whole plan. Don’t turn from Him. Scream and yell but lean into Him…
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking for Him this weekend. I didn’t pray. Not one time. Even the perfunctory meal prayers were performed by others. Instead, I swept. And watched the sun go down. And cooked.
Saturday morning, 48 hours after the news, I read the morning devotional in my email which arrives daily from Christine Caine. This verse:
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
I do believe this.
I do not feel it today.
But faith is a lot like love.
You don’t always feel it.
The evidence of things we can’t see, the Bible says. You don’t always see it, either.
Almost two years ago, I wrote a Bible study called Breaking Fear. In Week 4 of Breaking Fear, I talked about the fear that rises up when we have no control over a situation. I recalled Michelle Cushatt’s memoir, Undone, and how she first reacted to her cancer diagnosis. I have no such health crisis to deal with, but I feel her sense of undone-ness: I wanted to see into the future, to predict the outcome of my life and gain a sense of peace based on what I could see.
The future. I cannot see what it will look like. Two years ago, I prayed God would only let me see the next day ahead instead of my five year plan. The only way to keep me from controlling the life out of what’s ahead. It’s been a heck of a ride since that prayer. I’d like to take it back.
Instead, I’m going to sweep. And fold laundry. And bake. I won’t be announcing a big miracle complete with beautiful story of how it was orchestrated by God and how the timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous.
There’s a story about it all I will tell one day. I just can’t tell it yet because I haven’t processed why.
Today I’m only writing because it’s part of my liturgy of the ordinary. The sweeping of my soul.