5 Things I Learned From Living My Worst Case Scenario

Saturday, November 28, 2015

It's hard for people to know what to say to me right now. I get it. It's hard for me to know what to say, too. Some ask very pointedly, "How are you?" Some nervously say, "So .... single parent ... that's really hard, right?" Some say nothing at all. And I appreciate every one of them - every awkward conversation, every stuttering question, every avoided conversation to honor my space and privacy. I love every attempt to bridge the gap between my life and theirs, no matter how awkwardly we walk across it. Because, let's be honest. It takes courage to have coffee with me right now. I'm a walking cautionary tale.

I am living most people's biggest fear. What if you marry the right person, read all the books, follow all the advice, and your life still falls apart? What if you pour your whole soul into something that shatters into a thousand tiny shards? What if you give your life completely to something that fails?

What happens next?

my best weapon against grief.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I have so much I want to say - about how I think raising a big family is easier than a small one, and the powerful ways our theology ripples through our lives, how I don't know what it means to trust God anymore and how, in a few weeks, I will get to post a link to a story I cannot WAIT to share. There's so much for us to talk about, friends, but I come to this space and I stare at the blinking cursor.

Because since the last post, I've felt sad. 

on All Saints Day

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The first thing I want to tell you is this: I only cry in the car. The second is, I never miss the man I left.

It’s 6:25 on a Wednesday evening, a night when the kids have a standing engagement and I usually work alone for a few hours. I send him a text: I’m at the Thai place if you want to swing by. He responds a second later: Just picked up take-out from there 10 minutes ago. Great minds. Next time, I type. About once a month we share a meal. We chat about bosses and kids and upcoming family plans. Every few days, one of us texts the other with a piece of trivia, an old inside joke. Sometimes I’ll even ask, “Do you remember that time when we …” Most often, he doesn’t. 

when it's time to trust again

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The other night I had a dream. In it, my family was all living in only a segment of our house. We were cramped into a couple of bedrooms and a kitchen, but the house had another wing. Another long row of great big bedrooms with good light and a great view of the mountains, which we could access from a little walkway from a side door. In the dream, I found the door, and realized we had more room than I thought, and our lives would be harder if we didn't use it. I was excited about the possibilities, and went out (with toddlers in tow, naturally) to check it out.

But there was a catch. Two, really.

First, someone had once lived and died in these rooms. If we were going to use them, I would have to clean them out. They weren't gory or unsanitary, but they were full of stuff - blankets, papers, clothes, pictures. Reminders of someone I  loved who was now gone.

Second, the walkway ran between the row of rooms and a swimming pool. The pool had no fence or rail. My kids could easily fall in at any time.

In the dream, I had to make a choice. Was I willing to walk with my kids past that pool every single day to make better use of our house? Would I gather the belongings of deceased loved ones to make room for a sunlit, spacious future?

I woke up to a day I'd dreaded for weeks. My priest had asked me to speak in front of my church's leadership team about my marriage. He had a good reason for the request, and he was quick to say (over and over) I was not on trial, I did not need to defend any decisions I'd made, and I was already a  valued and respected part of our community. But our leadership team needed to make a decision that could affect my family, and they wanted to be sure they were genuinely honoring us. In order to know if they were doing the right thing, they needed to hear more of our story.

I was scared to death, friends.

I'm over at Middle Places!

Friday, September 18, 2015

"It’s gorgeous, right? The lighting is perfect. My children are clean and color coordinated. Everyone is looking at the camera at the same time. They are even SMILING. My hair isn’t doing anything weird, and my toddler isn’t pulling on my dress. My very talented photographer friend managed to capture a single moment when everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. It’s absolutely beautiful. Only, this moment didn't happen."

I'm over at Middle Places talking about family portraits, and the composites we offer to one another. 

Ever lost a friend over politics? Me too.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I once lost a Bible Study friend to the Iraq War.
It was 2003. The air was thick with political and social tension in the months before the US bombed Baghdad. She was a fiery pro-Bush, pro-war advocate. I was a vehement anti-Bush, anti-war enthusiast. One night before our small group Bible study began, conversation drifted toward politics. Typically our equally strong personalities encouraged the other, but that night they clashed. We were both convinced our way was not only more accurate, but the more faithful response. In the middle of our discussion, my friend picked up her purse, stood up, and said, “I can’t listen to this anymore.” She hurried away from my apartment. I watched her leave, dumbfounded.
Read more over at Venn Magazine. 

We can't look away.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Faith is homesickness.  Faith is a lump in the throat.  Faith is less a position on than a movement toward, less a sure thing than a hunch.  Faith is waiting.  Faith is a journeying through space and through time." - Frederick Buechner
This week, images of a lifeless little boy washed up on a shore have outraged the world. As they should.

I'll be honest. At first I couldn't look at the images at all. They reminded me too much of the image of my own little lifeless boy, and even knowing the picture existed raised my heart rate. Then, today, I made myself look at it. I made myself acknowledge this is happening right now, in my lifetime. Families are running away from chaos and into dangerous uncertainty. My mind went immediately to all the pictures that are never captured by professional photographers, all the mothers carrying their own indelible images just like mine. All the mothers who did not have the tremendous advantage of trained professionals to save their children's lives, the fathers who board a boat one life vest short, and must gauge which child would stand the best chance of survival if he fell. At this very moment there are parents making excruciating, unimaginable decisions to try to save their children's lives. And mothers who died this week alongside their toddler boys, never living to see their personal tragedy played out on CNN. May light perpetual shine upon them.


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