Friday, December 14, 2012

When The World Sparkles While Your Heart Breaks - Part I

My fingertips wrinkle in the suds and I'm emptied out. That's when it hits me, when the pain seems too close, too heavy, much too far away to touch. It happens at the kitchen sink, in the slow-slipping light of late afternoon, in the fuss of children and the chore of homework. It happens with dinner in the oven - the one I thought for sure would break me. The one that had me daydreaming fried chicken legs in a paper bucket.

Out my spotted window the grass gives up, too, jaundice creeping up its tips in broad day when it should be safely hidden under snow.

The house I see has boards in place of windows and a busted up foundation. My hands drip soapy and I look again, consider it all one more time. The vacant house seems right, somehow. I wonder if we're twins.

The tree is up. It's cheery. But it doesn't cheer me tonight. It's too bright, too distracting. Maybe tomorrow I'll love it again. But not today.

Today there are people I would fight for trying desperately to piece together a life where loss and redemption can both have a home.

Today I lost a person I was never brave enough to love.

Today I'm a mom too tired for this tough parenting gig.

Today my friend sends tear-stained text messages and I follow suit.

Today my child is sick and no one can help him get better.

Today jail turned to prison.

I lean one bowl against another, the towel soaked through. I keep washing, my hands going through the motions while my heart seems to exhale. Everything is not okay. It's one thing to find the silver lining, but some moments were reserved for hard truths.

I wonder about the boarded up house - our closest neighbor - and I know I'd be fine if it never went away. I might prefer it that way. Because this is the world we live in, where things hurt too hard and we fall asleep on a damp pillow too many nights in a row.

Maybe it doesn't have to be pretty to be beautiful.

I step back from my hurt and notice again that most of it isn't even mine. These are contact burns.

These tears, the too-long nights, the panicked pleas, all evidence of gifts I have been given.

I'd never make that trade.

The sink drains and the kids don't have a clue. They just want to watch Wild Kratts. They pull me out in a way that only they can do. The tree still doesn't cheer me, but it does brighten the room.

And though I know I can't fix a single thing, the truth pierces me - it's my high honor to walk through this season with a heart that leans heavy.

This pain is the purest gift, bestowed by hearts and hands who have chosen me.

I'll spend parts of every day sucking up the glitzy, sugar-frosted joy of this season, knowing very well that their trees may have never made it up. I'll spend parts of every day begging for their freedom.

I think fudge balls and mistletoe are not high on their priority list and I'm sure they feel a little lost in the glare. But Christmas is theirs, too. Maybe it's especially for them. No, I'm sure it is. Because Emmanuel came. He came to walk in my pain and in theirs. In yours. He came to see it for Himself, to touch it, to redeem it and call it beautiful. He came to be with us and even when it seemed like He left, He didn't.

God is with us.