letters to my sister, one of many

i miss you. i knew i would, but it’s acute, knowing you aren’t near enough for a phone call. a google chat.

i was looking all sorts of things up, trying to make sure writing letters to lost loved ones isn’t a sign of cracking up. according to the internet, i’m not losing it. though if i go on WebMD and check, i’ll probably have cancer, according to their diagnosis.

a mutual friend posted a video on facebook that i wanted to share with you, and in that moment, i was overwhelmed. you’re gone. and it’s starting to sink in. veterans day was missing your usual gratitude and kindness – your acknowledgement of all our families have laid down for their nation. a wealth of history contained in a few sentences. i miss that.

christmas is feeling more and more precious, knowing that it was the beginning of our hope of glory. i know i’ll see you again, but there are long years until then. years filled with life and joy and hope and sorrow and all the things i know await. but i wanted to be old ladies together, not longing for you through years of distance. the guilt comes and goes – it arrives when i find a get well card i never sent. i constantly reassure myself that you knew how much i wanted you to be well. how much i cared. because that’s a fear. that it wasn’t enough.

it’s what keeps me awake at night, restless and not wanting to sleep. before, when i was up late for whatever reason, i knew where you were. you were attached to me by a long thread that led onto distant highways, and if i was awake, you might have been too. it was comforting, and i didn’t know how much it was until now. the surety that i could call and hear your voice. call and say i love you.

so here’s my i love you. i wish you could read this. wish you could see my attempts to find a suitable crematory urn, something that you would like – pink and sparkley. it’s not going well, but i’m trying to find it… i miss you sister. you would know exactly where to look, exactly what to say.

i’ve been listening to a song, over and over. it’s one you lived by. and i’m trying to as well. i miss you.

 

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luck be a lady…

so i’ve never really believed in luck. i mean, sure, i had my silly rituals as a kid – don’t step on the cracks, heads up pennies, fingers crossed – but i never really believed in it. so now, whenever i say things like – fingers crossed and wish me luck – in the back of my head, there’s a little voice that reminds me that i’m being foolish. there’s no such thing as luck.

i don’t know where fate falls into things, i’m not a strict calvinist, so i’ve had a hard time believing in my life being chosen for me. but i still have moments of nervousness – i don’t want to tempt fate. or really, God. because i have a hard time not attributing a capricious nature to the God i claim to follow. i know it’s not scriptural, and sometimes i truly believe in His goodness or faithfulness. but a lot of times, i have a Jonathan Edwards type view of God – i’m a sinner, and He’s angry. and though i know that sermon is really about the grace of God, my head tells me that grace is for someone else.

so what does this have to do with luck? the other day, i mentioned a possibility that i was excited about. i was hesitant to mention the details, because there was this fear that if i told everything too soon, then it wouldn’t work out. foolish, right? but somewhere in my heart, i was afraid. afraid that a capricious god would hear my hope and decide i was unworthy. afraid that a trickster god would fool me, afraid i was somehow unworthy of blessing. notice how the g is not capitalized? that’s because it was a god of my own making. fear of being unworthy. of not being enough.

and in answer to my fears, i was blessed beyond expectation. i applied for a job at my alma mater on monday of last week, after hearing about the job opening on sunday. by thursday i had an interview, and this week – monday, to be precise – i signed my name to the offer letter and sent it in. i have applied to many, many jobs at UGA over the past few months, and never even got an email response. let alone an interview. let alone a job offer. let alone a start date.

so now, we’re on precipice of moving back to a town that has felt like home for 4 years. this year away has been hard, illuminating, and absolutely necessary. i was seriously broken in so many ways, and spencer and i were in bad shape. depression wrecks a family, ruins their ability to be whole – cohesive – not shattered, and i certainly wasn’t present for zoë. so when this year started, i was not in a place to recognize the loss of job, house, and familiarity as a blessing. as grace. instead, there was a hint that perhaps God was angry at me for being so broken. that my depression was my fault and everything that happened afterwards was because i was a failure.

do you see where the fear of tempting fate comes from? the belief that every painful thing, every failing, every disappointment was my fault, because i was a failure. so if something good was going to happen, i better not screw it up. better keep my mouth shut. and not tell anyone, and certainly not tempt God.

and yet, i was offered a position anyway. we have an apartment tentatively lined up, anyway. zoë will be returning to her beloved school, anyway. that regardless of my ability, or my lack thereof, or the luck i don’t profess to believe in, i am taken care of. we’ll have health insurance again. spencer will finally get his debilitating back injury repaired (he’s looking at surgery, or at least intensive physical therapy, not even including the week he will be out with his dental surgeries – which is why i was interested in the position at all).

and more importantly, i think i might have learned something. that luck isn’t a lady, and fate is no longer a trickster, or three women spinning yarn and forever cutting it, or that grace is not reserved only for the damned. that once again, the god i feared showed me He is a God who loves me. even when i don’t believe that about Him. even when i fear Him.

the other side of the coin

so i’ve received some lovely emails and phone calls, making sure i was doing alright. it was immensely heartening, because it’s easy to pretend it’s all fine. i’m on prozac, everything is great now! except there are times when it’s not, and i’m always a little scared of sharing when it’s not. i’ve hidden the fear for too long, so baring my heart in a public forum like this blog is simultaneously liberating and terrifying. but i’m on the other side of the valley i was passing through, with the understanding that there will be others – there will be days when the shadow of the mountains falls over the path i’m walking, and days when the light shines through the peaks.

i’ve been watching the hobbit a lot lately, so give a girl a break. but in the same vein of mountains and valleys, i’ve been listening to a band called “the oh hello’s,” serendipitously  linked from a facebook friend’s status. their latest album, “through the deep dark valley” sums up so many of my thoughts and hopes and fear. plus, they sound like the lumineers met mumford and sons, with a hint of the last bison. basically, i’m a happy girl – they’re excellent.

i’m linking to my favorite song on the album, the very last one. it’s a reprise of the opening track, which is a question directed outwards – will you lead me? i am feeling ebullient, joyous, loved, and the song makes me think of all those things. i am lead, i am loved, i am never forgotten. i know that faith and medicine and depression and fear get mixed up sometimes, in ugly ways sometimes too. but i was reminded of the hope i have, and cling to. it is not in my circumstances or the outcome of situations – my hope and faith are placed in a God who loves me. screwed up, broken, sinful me. and He leads me anyway – sometimes through dark and narrow places, but i am not abandoned. even if i am convinced of it. i guess that’s called faith – having to believe something i do not feel at times. or at all when the valley is dark.

at any rate, this was an unexpected post, because i didn’t anticipate having a down couple of days, or the opposite side of the coin – the reassurance and hope that comes from knowing that i am not alone. or choosing to believe it when it is scary.

also, i posted post #350 with the mocha mascarpone cake. which is gone already. it was so good! i want to work on tweaking it a little, seeing if i can’t get more substantial layers out of it. even if it was a cake post, i was excited to see that this little blog, begun over 6 years ago is still pushing onwards. hard to believe at times – i’ve got a lot of pavement under my feet since the first day i posted. and, i hope, a little more maturity, and a lot more hope.

here’s the song, and please remember all the ramblings i posted today. even if you’re feeling lost and alone and abandoned, you’re not. you may not feel the hands that hold you, and the world might be dark around you, but you are not forgotten. your pain is not ignored.