The Promised Land
[Celebrate This Week No. 238]
I hope you still want to celebrate with me, because things are about to get good. I say that with my feet firmly planted on the ground and reckless faith with unabashed hope. It doesn’t mean that life is going to be Pinterest picture perfect, parenting is going to be simple, or I’m going to suddenly write all of the words I want to write when I want to write them.
I am sure, though, that I’ve finally crossed into the Promised Land. It is only fitting considering I’ve been traveling the wilderness of earth for 40 years.
It looks like tents in the backyard and a smokey fire.
I think there’s a difference between being religious and faith. I’m not very good at the former. As a recovering perfectionist, it’s important that I stay away from legalism. Faith, though, that’s the core of who I am. I’ve spent a life time figuring out how to live by faith.
It’s been messy.
A beautiful mess.
I would describe the recent leg of our journey as nightmarish. If Andy could chime in, he would say, “I’m not sure I would go that far.”
I would cut my eyes to him and raise my eyebrows, sending the unspoken, Really? across the room. Andy would smile and he’d wink at me and you would know why I fell in love with him. Then he would say, “Well, yeah, I guess nightmarish is an accurate description.”
I’d laugh and he would add, “We’re doing okay, though.”
Of course he’s right, but mostly because we have a very loose definition of okay.
And we keep fighting the good fight.
Life took a nosedive for our 14 year old daughter in the first week of April. As a writer who is also a momma to kids from dark places, I’m aware that some stories are mine to tell and some stories are my kids’ to to tell. Then there are some that belong to both of us.
The story that belongs to me is the one of the tents in the backyard and the way life is never too dark for a celebration.
In the past few weeks, our family has been decompressing. One day I hope I have the words to describe the fatigue we all experienced. I still haven’t figure out the rules of recovery from extreme stress. I do know there were some things I refused to give up.
- Reading scripture.
- Writing and reflecting about my faith in my notebook.
- Showing outlandish acts of love.
Showing outlandish acts of love is the way we pressed on. Too often, we hit a gnarled part of the journey and we hole up, rather than lifting up others. This time, I was determined not to become isolated.
This isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. The road we are walking isn’t one that is for everyone. There are some parts of the path that tunnel into darkness, and there are dangerous twists and turns that only a few ought to know — if we are brave enough to speak of them…and if they are brave enough to hear without passing judgement.
I’m grateful that we can never get too far away from the reach of celebration. Those tents may look like something you see every year on the last day of school in our backyard. This year, though they represent overcoming fear and choosing love over defeat — again and again and again.