These days feel significant, even in the oh-so-ordinary parts of them. I am noticing an undercurrent of peace and hope that has not been here in a while. Not just in my immediately personal circumstances, but also in the communal events of this world. And it is not because everything is perfect and fine and settled, let's be real people - we have a whole lot of crazy going on. I think that is why they feel significant. In the midst of the unknown and earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires and refugee crises, my heart is still finding hope. It reminds me of a generous offering a friend gave us as he sat in our living room days after we lost our daughter.
He said, "Don't move too quickly out of this space of grief and loss. Take this time to heal and we will be holding out hope for you on the other side."
His words gave me a blessed permission to really succumb to the deep, heavy, and very literal hopelessness in those early days. Because that permission also carried a promise - we would not be in the dark heavy days forever. And if we needed reminding along the weary journey forward, we had people who were steadfastly holding hope for us, lest we forget.
Lord knows, it has been a weary journey forward... and backward and sideways and over and around and through. Yet we are still breathing, standing steady, and finding that it is really true - desperate days will lead to lighter ones. Two years, 10 months and 24 days later my hands are opening, ready for hope; ready to begin again.
I wonder if this is what faith is all about. Trusting enough to let yourself be fully in the dark and weary places of life because the immersion is necessary for your growth and transformation, while also knowing that it is not the end. There is darkness and there is light. Faith feels like a grounding sense of trust that even in this we will be alright.
Now, as we step back in to reengage with the world I am noticing a re-calibration is necessary. The world is still hustling and bustling for worthiness, success, happiness, and justice which tends to cause an internal rushing anxiety as my ego enters full freak out mode, wondering frantically why I took such a long pause. It sounds a bit like this:
Do you see what happens when you disengage? These people over here created a whole equity organization and you aren't supporting it. Natural disasters are ravaging entire communities and you aren't helping. Donald Trump became PRESIDENT. Look at what is happening!
And then a sweet whisper speaks directly to my heart saying,
Oh honey, you are right where you need to be, none of this is because you did or did not do something. I've got it. All I need you to do in this moment is to figure out where your left foot needs to be.
Which in this very moment is in a slipper, next to my right slippered foot, resting on a rung of the chair we bought on our honeymoon - supporting the laptop propped on my knees as my fingers rest on the keyboard and I close my eyes to feel the sunshine soaking my face and listen to the birds lunching on the feeder outside our kitchen window.
This season has been heartbreakingly beautiful. I shed more tears than I thought could exist in one lifetime. I smashed a bunch of breakables in my basement. And I also celebrated with friends as they have welcomed their precious babies into the world. I chased our crazy dog with a forever dripping mouth through the house and through the woods and through the park and streets of my neighborhood. I led my sister and brother in law through marital vows on a mountaintop in France, surrounded by both of their families.
Just because we are at the edge of this space between stories does not mean I need to sprint forward into the next thing. With my hands full of hope, I will take one steady step after another into the things we are choosing as we become again.
Homegirl, Brené shared Joseph Campbell's quote in her new book - Braving the Wilderness:
This is my new anchor. As I continue to practice the tools I have acquired on my journey thus far - excessive gentleness, mindfulness, not comparing, co-creating with the universe and being the tree - I will also find encouragement in knowing that I am not supposed to know. The light is only illuminating my two feet and the next immediate steps they are taking.