As I set my tall glass of water down, the crystal coaster slammed to the floor and shattered to pieces. That would make it five out of a set of six for me. My heart sank. I was moving too fast in the land of mom, wife, teacher and now student this past month. While my new school challenges have gone so well, other occurrences have left me bent over breathless.
Down on my knees I hear the voice of Little One with the words that I’ve taught her, “It is just a thing Momma,” as I pick up the shards of glass. Sweet, but the truth is I’ve shattered, not just the glass, as old fear begins to rise up inside of me. I’ve dipped too far back into regrets and fast-forwarded in time to where I do not belong yet, worried how I will cope. That’s a sign to me to take a deep breath, hold some silence and let God work out what’s really going on, as the Living God does not intend the blessings of life marred with the burden of fear along the journey.
A quick review of the past couple of weeks told the truth of a precious one diagnosed with cancer, the death of a dear friend, and a tense email received and my pitch hit to ‘fix’ twenty years for others, which struck out immediately. In the midst, I’ve begun our home educating again and made several trips back and forth to my Philadelphia hospital for appointments. Needless to say, I have had to rush a bit through my feelings.
It is odd how emotions have a way of surfacing when least expected.
Daughter Two arrives with the vacuum and a sympathetic look. I thank them both and cover the heart of fear beating fast with a smile and move along, but the wounded trust slow. I arrive back to the moment and marvel at the good growing in these daughters. These young ones who read fractures better than others I have known, and how they dole out generous portions of love to others and me along their way.
I cry. I wonder how that will affect my children, but I live by my heart and just maybe it is just fine and important that they learn to cry too. I can’t always stop things from breaking. I can surrender and pray the pieces are safe when they land.
I remember the year our family broke and entire new glass set and how my patient husband recently drove me back to our favorite kitchen store, a state away to repurchase the same one. They were pretty. I accepted the kind offer, but it was not necessary. I think about passing priorities down to the younger generation in our extended family and I have naturally learned to follow suit. My Grandma said ‘things’ don’t matter, and I remember how she broke glasses too, and that she encouraged me to join in and laugh over it. Her laughter was so freeing to me then and she never fretted with herself over it. I can still smell the green Palmolive soap that she let me squeeze far too much of in the dishpan and how warm and slippery the water felt on our hands as we worked and giggled together. My own Momma loves to give abundantly, but has also taught the real gift that people matter far more than material possessions as well. I see the good and love in these women and am blessed that they are still in my life.
But people breaking- that’s another thing entirely. My heart wants to love big and fix old wounds and all who suffer. I fear that I cannot. I fear that in my imperfection and illness that I may sadden or break others. I am still learning in this journey toward further wholeness to sill still with God through storms. I sit with the word surrender.
Once again, I think to myself, sometimes letting go is the best way to hold on.
I am propelled back to my words the past few weeks. My mind is stuck on how I could have said more to Dear One while I still had the chance. Oh how I wish I could send just one more email or card. I think about how I could have been a better peacemaker in my family of origin. How I desire to sand the edges smooth of the conversations around me. Or better yet, leave that reply button alone and keep myself safe on the fringe to help hide the tender places, because the words repeat and throw me back in time then notoriously hurl me far into the future. My stomach twists and I realize I must comfort my own body too.
All swept up again, I realize it’s simply time again to take the cure, not to stop engaging and loving. I get a new glass of water, and begin to sip on the precious silence and prayer. I then enter into giving thanks in the moment. I unearth my gratitude journal, as it’s been far too long since my last entry. I take the cure. The fear ebbs along its way and God comforts me with safety once again.
Strange how we can forget how raw we as people really can be and how we need one another- how very connected our lives really are and God intended it to be that way.
The heart slows. Whispered prayer reminds me we are never left alone, not even in fear or loss. John Woolman evidently had a thing going for it as well when he wrote:
“….I saw this habitation, the place of prayer, to be safe, to be inwardly quiet when there were great stirring and commotions in the world.”
Silly, this careening back or tumbling ahead of time we are given. It is fear’s best friend. Some how slowing in prayer and giving thanks keeps me in the one glorious moment I might otherwise miss with the great I Am. I find myself in awe that Jesus cleanses all the inner places and extends his love to all, and I think that when we break each other and ourselves, how we must break Jesus. I am freed by the Truth that comes in that still quiet voice, to remind me that Jesus so loved the broken, and that each of our identities are unique and loved. I am working on remembering that includes me.
I’ve done my share of breaking at times and so I quickly add “Grace” to my journal, as I lean into this humanness, and try again a bit more gently to move into the new day with kisses and hugs for the helpers around me. I remember the Divine’s grace is in all people and lives on in the ones that I love.
“Be strong and of good courage; Be not afraid..” Joshua 1:9