Hail to the middle

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Changes afoot

I am moving again…this time, my website address. For a while, I will post reminders here. If you would like to sign up for email notifications for future blogs, please sign up at the bottom of tricia-wilson.com. To read today’s post, go to http://www.tricia-wilson.com/blog/.

It’s who you know

Many of us have either been told or directly experienced the “it’s who you know” phenomenon in social, educational or work life. Despite the inequity of such a principle, it is alive and well and inescapable within our culture.

As my state of North Carolina has made national news in recent days after passing House Bill 2, aka HB2, the “it’s who you know” idea has presented itself to my heart and mind, with a twist. Though it contains a great deal more, the headline grabbing portion of this bill has to do with which bathroom a transgendered person can legally use. From my perspective, there is a great deal of fear mongering coupled with true ignorance around a specific group of people that is largely misunderstood and at times de-humanized.

Often when these types of events begin trending in local or national news, my personal response is anger. This time, I felt a heavy sadness. There has been a bunch of name-calling and political posturing on both sides. Yet all the while, the people at the center of this drama are our fellow human beings. I wonder how it feels to be one of them as they are talked about and demonized. I can only imagine that each of their roads to the place of choosing to transgender has been paved with pain and suffering.

Which of us has not changed our heart and mind about a particular prejudice toward a “type” of person after truly getting to know them, one individual at a time? Whether it is transgender, gay, poor, homeless, Muslim, liberal, conservative, or any other designation we attach to another, when we truly listen to and interact with someone as fellow human, hearts and minds change. It is only when we keep “the other” at arms length that we are comfortable shouting slurs or disparaging whole groups of people.

Within family, when someone we love reveals being part of a previously feared or disdained group, we almost always move forward together with time, communication, understanding and true love. It is rare to truly renounce someone we love over such matters. When rejection of a loved one is the choice, there is always great pain, suffering and destruction within the one scorned as well as the larger family or community.

I recently previewed a wonderful book by Kent Annan entitled “Slow Kingdom Coming – Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World. He states, “It’s vital for us to enter into the truth of other people’s lives. We’ll see the world differently.” How very true.

I know and love people who wrestle with gender identity, and I live life in friendship with parents who walk alongside children who are figuring out their own gender, sexuality and place in this world. They are not to be feared nor disgraced but deserve support, unconditional love and grace as they navigate a world that can throw hatred and judgment their way. When much of the vitriol is launched in the name of God, I am most sad and discouraged.

So if there is a people group that makes us squirm or we just don’t get, the challenge is to live a life that will cross paths with such individuals. Sometimes they show up next door, along the path of everyday life or right in our own families. If we open our ears and hearts and form relationship, there is much to learn. It truly is so very often who we know.

 

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Sign in a downtown restaurant

 

 

 

Joy and the unexpected

Many plans and hopes and dreams had been imagined and focused toward this March weekend. Our middle son was to be wed to his beautiful, full of life fiancée. Much care and planning and negotiation preceded the four day celebration. The weather forecast was for rain and a dip in the spring temperatures. Many people from many places descended upon St. Louis to stand alongside and be with our boy and his bride. Lots of moving parts, people doing their share, and now it was go time.

As parents of the groom, our big event and responsibility was around the rehearsal dinner. It was time to set up for the evening. As I got into our rental car, youngest son and his beautiful wife in the backseat, I looked into my side mirror and saw this:

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If I had been able to see a more accurate and full picture of what actually lurked alongside, it would have been this:

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After a screech and scrape of metal against metal, a little advice from the man in the backseat, and a panic response that led to the meeting of a left rear bumper and a brick wall, I took a big, deep breath. “Now I have to tell your dad” came out of my mouth. Heart pounding and feeling a little sick and sheepish, I drove around to meet my most loving and gracious husband.

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No one, most of all me, wanted this unfortunate car vs dumpster situation to cloud or color the event before us. After apologies, contrition and an agreement that it was most important to put this aside until much later, we traveled to our downtown destination. I practiced deep breathing and resolved to settle down for this most important celebration before us. My backseat passenger and his dad noticed my elevated stress level and put strong fingers to shoulders to assist in relief. It was a generous and welcome laying on of hands.

After an hour of technology set up, a space in which I can feel most inept, we worked through the issues and were on our way to rehearse for the wedding ceremony. From that point, all went well on this day. The energy was high, relationships were made and renewed, stories were shared and growing up child and couple photos set to music were enjoyed. I went to bed most grateful.

Around 6am, we heard groaning and crying in the loft above our room. Our youngest girl complained of stomach pains and restless sleep. After some discussion, the diagnosis was that it was most likely a case of eating a bit “off diet” the previous night and nervous energy around her groomsmaid (she was going to stand on her brother’s side) role for the day. I headed off to an early AM yoga class – yes, I now have a daughter in law who enjoys this pursuit even more than I – and soaked up the relaxing and centering instruction. A most fitting start to a wedding day.

As I rolled back to our home base, the news of our littlest girl child getting sick in the bathroom and a return to sleep greeted me. I still held out hope that this was a one and done situation. After all, this was a very big day. Her brother was getting married. Dresses, shoes, hairstyles and ceremony had been talked of for months. This was no day for a stomach bug.

The forecasted rain and cold gave way to a day that looked like this:

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We were on a fairly unforgiving schedule and continued to march through the day and show up at the places required. We arrived at the bride’s home with dresses in tow, makeup and hair bags ready to roll. Having a sister in law afforded our girls a much more stylish look than mom could provide. Sister in law got to curling and twisting and making beautiful. But the stomach continued to ache.

I felt a great deal of tension and turmoil as we navigated the next hours. Between getting my own clothes and makeup in place, I checked in with our girl. Any change? Do you think you are going to be sick, or the more hopeful do you feel any better now? The look on her face was not a promising one. Trying to isolate her in case we were dealing with contagion while also knowing that if virus was in fact the verdict, she had been all around these people for the past 24 hours. Hoping with all my might that she would be able to be a part. Huddling with my husband to make contingency plans. Clarifying that mother and father of the groom being present as much as possible was the primary goal.

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Pictures were made and she was able to be a part. We traveled to the church. She and I located restrooms, talked, wandered and agonized. I tried to comfort and be steady and realistic. It was emotionally draining. It would be devastating for her to miss the wedding or the reception, or both. Our family really likes to eat and dance and celebrate together…

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And then, I had clarity. One last trip to the bathroom. This was definitely a stomach bug. Once I leaned into what was and quit straining for what I wished to be, calm came over the mother of the groom. Our dear and gracious and amazing sister and brother-in-law took her to their hotel room. She was in good hands. I was relieved. As much as I wanted her there, now I could be fully present for our son. And the wedding began.

It was beautiful and poignant and my heart swelled with love for this boy who was entrusted to our care for such a short time. He heard words of wisdom, spoke powerful vows and made and received promises as this new family was formed. It was holy ground, a celebration and much delight was imparted to this mother’s heart.

His little sister walked into the reception for a few moments but knew she needed to be elsewhere to give honor to her own body and situation. We all felt sad that she wasn’t among us as we ate and laughed and danced. We were most grateful for family and not one but two unselfish aunts and uncles willing to miss out so that we could fully be there. Our extended family loved us well on this day.

Our youngest girl had made fast friends on Friday with a fellow 6th grade boy from New York City while kicking a soccer ball and playing video games. His mom reported that he had a thing for sassy girls and was so sad to hear of the situation. Our girl’s sass had bowed down to sick on this particular day. He kept voicing hope that maybe she would come to the party for just a little while. I think he had hopes of dancing with our sassy girl.

During other segments of my journey, such an inopportune time for a fender bender and a stomach bug would have thrown me off balance in a more profound way. Though there were both deep disappointment and a wish for a partially different script on these days, the weekend was full of joy and laughter and tears and gratitude. We have another beautiful daughter in law and one more of our children has set up home with the one they love most deeply.

On Sunday morning, our girl woke up after about 14 hours of sleep and was almost as good as new. There were fifteen awful hours that came at a most unfortunate time. As we looked out the window on this day, we witnessed another short-lived snowy surprise. Sometimes the undesired or unpredictable happen.

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Despite the twists and unexpected detours along this weekend, we still experienced great joy and true family, permeated with hope and the beauty of new beginnings. I believe this is an accurate picture of life and in particular life in partnership with another. There will be times of exhilaration and contentment coupled with periods of pain and unexpected sorrow. To this most dear to us newly joined husband and wife, when things go a bit or a great deal awry and the unexpected shows up in your days and years ahead, I wish you traveling mercies joined with true love and joy all along the way. We are most honored to be family with you.

 

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Great love and emotion shared during our mother-son dance as the Avett brothers reminded us “…there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.”

 

 


			

Who is your enemy?

That was the question voiced around the luncheon table of five, a group of women all living in our 6th decade on break after listening to Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist. Our assignment was to share something that spoke to us during the morning. When my turn, I voiced that other than feeling that I had been born about 15 years too early, (the gracious voices of so many women author/bloggers with names like Sarah, Glennon, Jen, & Nadia are balm to my weary conservatively raised soul), my takeaway for the day was “love your enemies.”

In answer to the “who is your enemy” question, I did my best to express that in today’s political climate, I often feel that certain ideas and beliefs, sometimes held by those I love, are “my enemy”. In reality, it has become apparent that I am out of touch with a great many fellow citizens. The Donald Trump and overall Republican party direction has been a tremendous shock and blow to my personal sensibilities. Within my heart and mind, such an extremely different of point of view has become an enemy. At times, I have felt near panic over how to stop such a thundering avalanche of craziness.

The rise of Donald Trump is clearly tapping into something that is completely foreign to the experience of Tricia Wilson. If I just hunker down in my own corner and respond out of fear and disdain, then how am I any different from those on the Trump side of this equation? What in the world does it look like to honestly, on the ground, really and truly, love my enemy? I have no answers but am beginning to explore ideas.

I count myself as an open-minded person that can tolerate various points of view, yet it is always easiest when those views are close to my own. Though it is quite an exercise in restraint, I have decided that I need to try to better understand from where such passion and furor and downright meanness reported daily comes. Slowly, but surely, I have read the opinions of a few politically conservative voices to help me understand. Here and here is a start if you have any interest.

Attempting a level of understanding and just for a moment trying to put myself in the shoes of the enemy is a place to start. It doesn’t mean that I in any way, shape or form agree or support the often beyond disturbing expression of such people. But if I can’t tolerate their viewpoint, then my response is no different than the intolerance and hatred that I accuse of them.

Sometimes humor is the only way to make it through a given day. My recent favorite quotes said by people I love and share common thought, “[the Repubican primary race] feels like it is a “who gets thrown off the island next” situation. And, if Trump is so against immigrants coming to this country, he needs to stop marrying them. I hang out with funny people.

But humor and curiosity may not carry me through. At a point, it is no longer funny. There are lines that have been and I imagine will continue to be crossed. Any attempt to listen beyond the surface does not mean that I will not speak up or stay silent in the midst of hatred. I will not. Pledging allegiance and raising hands toward an egomaniac do bring up visions of Hitler. Building walls, threats to take out families and excluding people based on anything are counter to the Christianity in which I believe.

Squaring the love your enemies, make swords into plowshares God with the you must not be silent in the midst of injustice God is a complicated and confusing task. This week I have been challenged to take a baby step in what may be the toughest thing that Jesus asked his followers to do – love your enemies. I will continue to ponder just what that means in these most divisive days.

 

 

 

 

 

A good dog

He entered our family after a string of dog fails brought on by an impulsive mom who was trying her best not to go through the hard work of the puppy stage. Three rambunctious boys and a grown dog rarely make fast friends, and several unfortunate situations were created. So after several re-homing heartbreaks, mom and sons traveled together to bring this sweet little puppy home.

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The story actually begins with a persuasive letter school assignment written by a gentle, kind-hearted, slightly awkward 7th grade boy. His mom may have been impulsive and a bit lazy, but she does have a heart.

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Mom also recognized that these lofty promises, though well meaning at the time, would fall by the wayside and day to day care of this canine family member would fall to her. She was ready to commit.

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Though mom and dad had a deal that dad would only participate in animal care as desired, code for “it’s always mom’s dog”, he did choose his name. Rinze (prounounced Rinzee) is a shortened name of a short careered Wake Forest University basketball player, Niki Arinze. Niki is the nephew of Cardinal Francis Arinze, so there were two namesakes involved, a man of the court and of the cloth.

The day after Rinze arrived in our home, Raleigh experienced its’ single biggest snowfall on record. A record that still stands. Almost two feet of snow fell and the ambivalent doggy dad had to shovel deep trenches so that our new little guy could begin his house training.

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Obedience training and beyond fell to mom and the writer of the “can we please, please have a dog letter”. Mom worked on sit, stay, down while brother taught the more glamorous high five, catch a treat and flip the treat from nose to mouth. Cut up carrots were the reward. Not only was Rinze a good dog, but he was a smart one. He performed for carrots almost until his last days. But the liver treat given as he entered his crate for the night was, until the end, the highlight of his day. If any of us can daily get as much joy and excitement as Rinze did over that treat, we will have lived a good life.

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When our family changed homes, our beloved pet was 14 years old, and the transition was difficult. He was confused, anxious and depressed. Thankfully grandmom provided extra TLC and Rinze made the adjustment in time. Though he could no longer jump up and grab food from the kitchen counter as in younger days, he did learn to navigate the dozen steps that lead to the backyard. The vet said that kept his muscles strong.

Though the muscles were strong, the mind and emotions began to waver. Toward the end, he was no longer house trained but had mom trained to walk him every few hours or else clean up the resulting messes. The slow and frequent walks encouraged mom to stop and smell the roses as he stopped and smelled the doggy smells. It was a reminder to slow down, take in the day or moment as we walked slowly alongside him. As he lost his hearing over several years, his voice also began to fade. It was a gift to hear a few barks in the last days and know that he still had something to say.

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The decision to let Rinze go was difficult and an ongoing conversation within my head. As he entered his twilight months and days, I felt that he would let us know when it was time. He did. It was confirmed by our most tenderhearted, animal-loving child who after some discussion of the realities of his life said, “Mom, I think it is time. We have to let him go.”

And so we did. And in the most peaceful and gentle way, something I feared became a beautiful farewell. Rinze’s passing marks the loss of a well loved family member as well as over sixteen years of family life that has shifted and transformed. All three of those rambunctious boys are grown men making their way in the world and the little girls are knocking on the door of teenage world. Thank you to Rinze for adding much life and color to our journey. He was indeed a good dog.

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Lessons on the mat

Sometime during my mid to late forties, yoga became a part of my life. It was post double back surgery and in the midst of a self care wake up call. Contrary to the denial land I had lived in, staying healthy in mind, body and soul were going to require intentional effort. I found a nearby 6 am class and snuck into the back on the very first day. I entered the studio without one piece of knowledge about the mechanics of yoga and didn’t even know what downward facing dog meant. I was huffing and puffing all through this inaugural class, which in time I realized was directly counter to the essence of a yoga practice.

The class was led by a gentle and encouraging instructor, and he was a kind introduction to a practice that has truly changed my life. Aside from the fact that I don’t wake up stiff each morning, the benefits and lessons have been both surprising and multiple. Here are just a few.

Listen to your body. Many of us have an uncanny ability to ignore the physical signals pulsing through our bodies to give us clues and instructions on how to live in a more healthy space. Personally, I used to ignore the whisperings and even as my physical being desperately tried to speak louder, I didn’t pay attention until we were in full blown shouting mode. This approach led to several different health crises.

Yoga teaches me to listen for and respond to adaptations needed for the task before me which has led to greater respect and appreciation for my physical body. There are days when I need to pull back and respect limitations and others when it is appropriate to push harder. Ego must be checked and an awareness of exactly where I am on any given day must be respected.

Doing yoga with a friend can be more fun. For the first several years of my practice, I was self-conscious and felt most comfortable when I snuck into a class where I knew no one and could plant myself in the most unobtrusive location. Convinced that others were critiquing my form, flexibility and general personhood, way too much energy was directed toward the idea, mostly false I am sure, that others were interested in my yoga abilities. I now know that the inward aspect of the practice is much more important than the outward.

A few years ago, my friend Liisa started inviting me to go to class with her. This flew in the face of my yoga ways. At first, it was uncomfortable, especially since this friend is strong and flexible and has practiced a lot longer than me. But as I embraced the invitations, I realized that practicing with another adds a new dimension. It helps me to become a healthier type of self-conscious.

Be the healthy type of self focused. I remember touting the benefits of yoga to a young friend. She told me that when she tried it, she got so angry that others could do physical poses that caused struggle for her.

The other day I went to a class. I guess when you put the adjective “power” in front of the word yoga, you are inviting a different kind of experience. As I participated, I could feel it in the air. It was the female equivalent of a pissing contest. Maybe when youngish women wear spandex and are presented with great physical challenge, the female testosterone swells. Our teacher felt it too. She kept saying over and over, “close your eyes”.

The challenge in that situation is to completely focus on self, but in a healthy way. Looking around, comparing and measuring performance is highly detrimental to the goals of yoga. Closing eyes and focusing where my own mind and body are located is extremely beneficial. This is a lesson I can take off of the mat and out into the world.

Things learned as a child often come back in adulthood. When I was a girl, my best friend Tracy was a reasonably talented gymnast. She taught me how to do a headstand. I briefly served as coach in her short-lived quest for Olympic gold.

I remember when our daughters were young and I was in my early 40’s, I tried to do a headstand for them and failed miserably. After practicing yoga for several years, I decided to reassess my headstand ability. In my 50’s, I now regularly stand on my head. I guess an old dog can reclaim old tricks.

Mindfulness matters. As a long time denier of my own struggles with anxiety and depression, my mindless coping strategies became less and less sufficient for the task at hand. Meditation and yoga have proven to be of tremendous benefit in addressing these personal challenges.

Learning to breathe in and out each present moment sounds simple yet is deeply complex. An intentional soul posture of gratitude for each and every breath as well as a conscious practice of thankfulness for the abilities of my physical body on any given day are life changing. So many of our most profound gifts can be taken for granted.

Time on the mat has changed me for the better. I know that there is much more to learn and incorporate as I live each day, hour and moment. I look forward with anticipation to future lessons presented and accepted on the mat.

 

 

 

 

Christopher

This morning I had an agenda. It involved working on a long term writing project and making specific plans around the wedding of our middle son, Chris. As I sat down ready to forge ahead, this caught my eye:

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In my writer’s workshop, I keep some of my stuff in this old cardboard pencil box. Scissors, pens, post it notes and matches to light my candle currently fill it up. This is the first day that I have had it open long enough to notice the name that follows “This Box Belongs to:”. In case you can’t read it, it says Christopher, written in a rainbow of colors. It is amazing that with all of the purging that happened around our recent move, this box remains. There was nothing intentional about choosing it to hold my necessities. I think it just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I sure am glad.

Christopher is now mostly called Chris and in less than ten weeks will be a married man. He lived most of his childhood smack in the middle of two brothers and had a temperament and personality that could sometimes be overlooked. I hear that happens to many a middle child.

With the exception of a few bumps in the midst of middle school, he was an almost constant joy and delight. Just like the rainbow colored Christopher above, he brought different colors and ways of thinking and experiencing life into our family. His broad spectrum of interests from dolphins to Harry Potter to the outdoors spiced up our lives and kept us from being too mundane.

A few years ago, we ran into one of Chris’s all time favorite teachers, then known as Ms. Watts, now Ms. S. Christopher had a very difficult 3rd grade year and needed nurturing and to know that he was a loved and valued child. Fourth grade teacher Ms. Watts delivered in every way. At this serendipitous reunion, Ms. S told Chris that she had saved a special project he had done when in her class. It was well over ten years ago, and she wanted him to have it.

About a year later, I was running in and out of a store, and as I approached my car, Ms. S came up to me. She expressed how happy she was to run into me and that in the trunk of her car was the promised project. It was a little tattered and torn, but she was so delighted to pass this back to our son. Wow. The power of a devoted and caring teacher… After sharing it with Chris, I saved it and moved it from place to place with the intention of putting it back together and gifting it back to Christopher. This is how it looks today:

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Some days, the pathway of how to best spend our time just rolls out before us. In fact, I believe that every day this is a possibility if we open our heart eyes and take in the whispering invitations all around. Today, I accept the invitation to fully enjoy and take in the experience of remembering and celebrating the gift to our family of Chris/Christopher. It is time to put “Ten Years of Christopher” back together. The next several hours will be spent soaking in the memories as well as hopes for this artistic and creative soul that was sent to our family over 26 years ago. And then onto planning celebrations as you create your very own family. It is such a privilege to be your mom, Christopher. I love you dearly.

Light more candles

In mid-December, our home was part of an annual neighborhood Christmas tour. Over two days and 12 hours, several thousand people meandered through our home. The days leading up to this event were filled with scrubbing and straightening and shoving, with a serious concern that no one would have the nerve to open any of our closets during their holiday trek.

Putting on our shiniest image for the crowd of people who would stroll through our house involved pulling out and lighting a number of candles. Our home looked beautiful and the candles added a glow and serenity to the ambiance. Many of these candles had been hidden in a drawer, moved from home to home, yet never been lit. They waited in a dark place inexplicably saved for some future special event.

After the home tour, the delight and exhaustion of Christmas and the welcoming of a new year, my thoughts moved toward a 2016 focus. My son called yesterday and during the conversation asked, “Mom, do you have any new year’s resolutions?”. My reply was “light more candles”.

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Yes, I already have and plan to continue to physically light more candles. But the symbolism of this act echoes a deeper more constant struggle within. As I light each candle, the desire to be more fully present in each moment along with a yearning to embrace the simple joys in life is illustrated. In January 2013, I wrote of my wish to spend more time in the practice of presence. Three years down the road, I have made progress but still aspire to live in this space more regularly.

Four days into this new year, there have already been several invitations to live in and enjoy the moments. On January 1, we were invited to a delicious meal in the dining room of my parent’s new retirement community. It was a joy and delight to watch our daughters interact with a different generation. From smiles to hand shakes to chatting up while waiting in line, they shared their youthful enthusiasm all around. Their resolutions joined alongside those of residents and guests, and l imagine that their specific 2016 wishes have made some senior residents as well as their grandmom smile (see bottom two on the left hand side below).

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In case you can’t read them…”get my double back handspring” and “make my gmom ride a Harley”.

This morning as I walked out my front door, three neighbors living out their 7th and 8th decades invited me to walk with them. I almost said no as the “to do” list for the week is long. Thankfully, I went along and was inspired and encouraged by their collective wisdom, life experience and joie de vivre. I received a standing invitation to join them in days to come.

I don’t want to wait for some glittering image home tour to light candles. As I write, as I cook and as our family sits down to break bread, the candle will often be a part. “Light” will be the focus of my meditation practice this year. The flame is a reminder and invitation to calm, intimacy, beauty, hope and God’s presence. I wish for more of that in 2016. I would love to know what your 2016 focus will be. Please share.

The gift of normal

On October 17, 2014, our older daughter took a terrifying fall from a tree in our yard. That story is chronicled here. The anniversary of this event came and was not at all lost on me. But I could not bring myself to sit down and reflect deeply on the significance of that day. Recent happenings have begged me to take another pass at reflecting on that miracle day for our family. Though I have a million tasks calling out to me today, my writer’s mind will not rest until I allow these words to flow. So here goes…

As the one year anniversary approached and the memories of a day blanketed with a severe mercy and grace rose up to surface level, my heart raced accompanied by a stomach that flipped and flopped. The story could have ended in tragedy, yet we were all spared. The “why God does it happen this way sometimes, and sometimes not”, questions persist. The what ifs still occasionally haunt and whisper inside my head. These moments are always followed by a desire to fall face down, spread eagle on the floor with gratitude for the grace sprinkled all around on that particular evening.

A few days ago, our neighbor and his dad were up on the roof. There was a fall. The local EMS responders were on the scene within minutes, just like when our girl tumbled down. A memory rose up for one of the emergency workers. He recalled being on this street and the brick home two houses down. In the midst of tending to another fallen family member, he sought out our neighbor lady, mom of three. Ma’am, there was a little girl who fell from a tree. Over there. Two houses down. It was a really big fall. Do you know if she is ok? In this job, we never get to find out how the story ends. Is she normal?

We had only lived in our new home for two plus months. Our now neighbor friend didn’t know which girl was which on the day of the tree fall. She now knows our names but wasn’t sure who fell. Well, one of the girls plays soccer and darts around speedily wherever she goes and the other is our babysitter. So, yes, she is normal. Follow up questions and answers assured this skeptical EMS guy that in fact on that day, the story had a happy ending.

The alternative endings are too painful for this mother’s heart to dwell upon. It is another form of grace when the what ifs that ricochet within my mind are quieted. As I shared these deep thoughts with a gentle and quiet soul that I barely know, she softly relayed the habit of her preacher as he encourages his flock with the visual of a ladder. He calls it the thin space between earth and heaven. That was where we resided on that October 17 autumn day. God reached down as we begged and pleaded upward. And as I’ve said before, no matter the outcome on that day, I cling to the idea that this thin space exists for all, come joy or sorrow.

Our family took in deeply and was touched by the care and concern of the emergency worker who does his job day in and day out with no ability to  know where it all leads. Our girl decided to write a letter that we will do our best to get in front of those specific individuals in our midst on our miracle day. But if that is impossible, this letter goes out to all who work and serve and heal without intimate and detailed knowledge of the grace that they sprinkle all around. In reality, that is each one of us.

November 23 2015

Dear EMS workers,

Hello.  I am the 11 year old girl who fell from the tree, in her backyard October 17 2014.  I am writing this letter to you because one of my neighbors had to call you guys and while someone was there, they asked about me.  I am now 12 years old and am doing great.  Of course I am hitting puberty, so I have my emotional troubles, but it was only a concussion that I have suffered.  I am in the 7th grade and am doing Common Core 1 (9th grade math) and my grades are just where I like them.  I want to assure you that I am doing great.  Thank you for saving my life (maybe) and for asking about me.  I know it can be hard not knowing how the people you save are doing due to all the patient confidentiality and stuff.  Thank you again for wondering and I am glad that I am able to at least fill you in.  Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

The girl who fell from the magnolia.   

 

 

 

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