I’ve not felt much like writing lately. A new grief has occurred and has gotten a hold of my soul and I have had to spend energy and time fighting it. It’s funny how grief can take the very things that are most effective in fighting grief (such as writing) and turn them into activities that seem insurmountable. Writing, right now, feels like climbing Everest. Yet writing is what I do, it’s how I process, it’s how I learn.
So I’ll set aside that grief to write about a pivotal moment from this past weekend.
My crew and I had an incredible experience this past Saturday night at our church’s “Dying to Live” Discipleship Now Weekend event. Parents were asked to attend the last hour or so of the night. My soul was hurting that night. My heart empty, my brain overloaded. I had no desire to go, but I went, not anticipating at all what would take place in my soul or the souls of my children.
I sat down in the darkened youth “red room” to find it to be a typical “last night of a retreat” scenario. Only this time, as I sat there in the back row, I found myself with tears streaming down. It was the first youth event I had attended since our lives fell apart. And as I sat there, this overwhelming tide of memories of hundreds of youth and church events cane flooding over me like a tidal wave—camps at Pu’u Kahea and Maui camp, typical games and affirmation circles and “letter’s to God”—all the things that go in to reaching out to a church, reaching out to students. The memories were so powerfully strong, I could not sop the steady stream of tears. I debated making a run for it, or sticking it out. Something made me stick it out.
We were asked as parents to pray with our kids. So I gathered my 3 youngest (my oldest was at work) to me. My boys were on both sides of me, my girl was sitting in my lap. And, for the first time, we grieved as a family. Bethany sobbed tears, asking me over and over again if we are going to make it and how much she misses her daddy. Tim cried and apologized for wrong behavior and kept telling me that I am a good mom. And Mark just laid his head on my shoulder and cried, saying he missed his father. And as I tried to pray for my hurting children, I cried as well, out of fear, out of grief, out of gratitude that the five of us are a family–and a strong family at that. But I begged God for mercy in those moments, because I don’t know how to parent my crew without His help. I can’t do it. I fail so very often. And I am so weary.
But I think it was a turning point, a pivotal point to opening the doors for my crew and I to become even tighter than we already are. To cut each other some slack. To work hard together to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. To be grateful for the little that we have and not envious of the blessings others have. Because we have each other, and that’s all that truly matters–that and the fact that we’ve got our God and our Jesus. And Grace.