Wednesday, February 22, 2012


This morning I was wrapped up in my purple blanket when I headed into Quinn's room to wake him.  He wanted to snuggle, and knowing that my days are limited when he can even stand being in the same room with me, I happily curled up next to him.  A wrestling match ensued where he tried to steal my purple blanket, and this conversation followed:

Q: Can I have your purple blanket?
Me: No.
Q: Please?
Me: No.
Q: Why not?
Me: Because you have your own blanket and I'm warm and wrapped up like a taco.
Q:  Mmmm.  Taco.  Can we go to Blue Coast Burrito for breakfast?

At 7 am, that suggestion is just wrong on many levels, but being the mature adult that I am, I replied, "what a great idea, but unfortunately they don't open until lunch.  isn't that the silliest thing you've ever heard?"  Blame shifting is definitely a key parenting strategy of mine.  After narrowly avoiding a meltdown (this boy wakes up on the edge of crazy - it doesn't take much to set him off, just ask his preschool teachers), I vaguely assured him that we would go sometime in the sort of near future.  Deflecting his questions with intentional ambiguity is another favorite parenting strategy of mine.

I love this kid, and not just because he told me I was beautiful at least five times this morning (probably hoping I'd change my mind about tacos for breakfast).  But sometimes I look at him and wonder what age he will get cancer and what kind will it be; then for a moment I could swear my heart just stops beating.

Grief accentuates the extremes in my life.  I find myself in the same breath thanking God for something like his financial provision or Quinn's health and then wondering when he will take those blessings away.  In my worst moments, I've wondered if loving God isn't a little bit like being in an abusive relationship.  I've been reading the prophets in my quiet time, which may not be the best complement to my mental state, but they do make you wonder.  The cycle where God's people fall away and God punishes his people and then restores them again is almost dizzying.  What is God up to?

Now I'm not trying to deal with the theological question of suffering.  There are many good answers out there, but none are really satisfying on an emotional level because I have noticed that grief has the capability of leaving you a little bit crazy paranoid about when the next bad thing is going to happen.  I'm pretty sure there's a professional counseling term for that feeling, but I don't really care about it either.  Because what is relevant to me is what do I do when I'm pinned to the wall with a thousand imaginary fears about tomorrow?

And don't quote all those "do not worry" scriptures at me because I know them already, and you throwing them in my face will just make me want to slap you.  Isn't that exactly how you feel when instead of really looking at you and seeing you as a person, someone just beats you over the head with a verse like you're an idiot?  My spirit just deflates like an old balloon.  And oh how I hate myself when I feel like I've done that to someone.

Yet, by some miracle, I find that I'm not crazy paranoid.  Look at me standing in awe of God working in my heart to change me as if he were doing something impossible!  Sometimes I can be so dense.  But when fear does come charging through my mind threatening to paralyze me, I find myself praying, "Lord, if you take me there, just promise to be with me."  And you know what?  It works.  Because I've been in those places before, and He was there.  I still visit those places, and He is still there.

When Emmett would play hand drums, he would build up these massive callouses.  I would massage his hands, and he would detail to me which drums gave him which callouses, as if these signs of constant pain and beatings were old friends.  And though we often refer to people who are calloused in a negative sense, maybe there is a good kind of calloused.  Maybe, just maybe, if we embrace the pain caused by suffering rather than hiding form it, that instead of becoming calloused towards God, we will develop callouses towards fear.

And lately, despite the fact that I grieve every day, my heart is downright giddy because even though fear taunts me at every corner, and I fully expect that it will try its hardest to destroy me, it no longer has a death grip on my spirit.  And some days that just makes me want to dance.


  1. I love you, sister. Soul resonating sentiments. Thank you.

  2. Yeah, calloused toward fear is a good word picture. A wise woman counseled me to stay in TODAY because that's where Jesus is waiting to walk with me. If I jump ahead to tomorrow, next week, next year, I'll feel abandoned. Thanks, at AMNY levels.

  3. "lord, if you take me there, just promise to be with me." beautiful words, wendy.