Sunday, April 29, 2007


[big sigh]

In many ways this weekend was good. Bucketloads of bright sunshine can sear through dingy, gray clouds like nothing else, both literally and figuratively. Chad helped Jordan Sheetrock 90 percent of Jordan & Lacie's basement. Ran errands for Dad. Mowed for Mom. Wedding shower for a cousin. It's feels good doing stuff for others, seeing the progress that giving makes.

Normal still feels numb, though, almost as if we're "playing normal." Sunshine's underbelly hangs shadows on us, a cooler version of what pours upon the rest of the world. And no matter how you try to distract yourself, reminders pop up like dandelions. The living room window at Jordan & Lacie's new home perfectly frames the neighbors' two very young children riding bicycles. Another neighbor has a brand new baby. Kyrie's soft-bite baby spoons are still in the silverware drawer. An end cap in Target displays glittery, girly Mary Janes. Oh, the list goes on and on.

There's a Johnny Cash lyric that sings, "I taught the weeping willow how to cry," and it seems as if we're all experts now on liquid pain. Drop by drop, I'm sure Jordan and Lacie could water Kyrie's flower garden with the tears they've shed. Weeping is the only self-producing release valve that I know of for the pressure sorrow causes. It builds and builds, starting with the ache in your gut or the golf ball in your throat. You feel it rise into your lower jaw as you try to bite your lip. The stinging in your nose and burning behind your eyes signal your broken heart to pump pain from itself, through your blinking eyes, spilling down your cheeks and onto your steering wheel or your pillow or your desk or your lap or your spouse's shoulder. Maybe it's a quiet, shaking cry. Or maybe it's a guttural, sobbing cry that knocks the wind out of you. For this kind of sorrow, the sorrow that the entire world says is the worst to experience, one bout of crying may subside, but another undoubtedly is on its way.

As much as we don't want to keep waking up when we're enduring long-term pain, we do; we keep waking up. Amazing, isn't it? We keep waking up, we keep breathing, even though we think it would feel better not to.

In my opinion, suffering's only peace offering is grace, a gift hard won and often gladly exchanged for never having been pained at all. This grace is what allows others who have greatly suffered to enter that sunny world again. It's what raises their arms to hug someone who has just begun suffering. And as I see it, the only way to arrive at some sort of peace or grace is to barrel through. There is no shortcut or detour. Maybe this means crying 100 times a day if you have to or shouting Kyrie's name into the sky or shoveling up your yard or avoiding children for awhile or keeping her photo in your pocket or talking aloud to her or even yelling your prayers to God. The good, bad, ugly and holy. Whatever gets you through today, one day closer to her heaven.

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