• death,  God,  Grief,  life

    Evil, Chaos, and Seashells

    I don’t remember what brought us there. I don’t remember if we’d had a fight or something had happened to her at work or something else, but I remember arriving to seagulls and salty air and watching her make her way across the sand. Usually the beach was recreational: we brought blankets and snacks and sand toys and tanning oil (don’t judge). This time was different. No beach bag, just us and a purpose. Mom had business here. My memory is imperfect, but what’s in here is her teaching me, showing me her way, introducing her ritual. She got out a journal and sat in the sand and told me,…

  • Christian Living,  Grief,  Jesus Christ,  life,  Worship

    Death, Where is your Sting?

    I sit in the back of the room because we are late – again – and because there is a table here with room for coffee and coloring books. I am tired. Deep tired. Tired of the platitudes and the things that are not working right now, but I come because I’m also hopeful. Because getting up on Sunday morning and walking into a church building is a liturgy in itself for me. It’s a pattern I am hoping will sync me into something (I’m not totally sure what yet). The message is about Jesus so the music is about Jesus and it’s lovely. But a lyric hits the screen…

  • Cancer,  death,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Worship

    When Those Songs Play

    There is a station on my Pandora account – I named it “My Nest” – which I have thumbed up and thumbed down to perfection. Just about every song is deeply meaningful to me because this station has played through 2 unique pregnancies and their furiously lovely births, a dying dog, 3 moving days, the cancer news from California, all the breath-holding and fervent praying, and now it plays over my mourning. When my mom had surgery to remove the tumor we still thought could be some sort of sinus infection, the music and lyrics matched every atom of my limbo. Peace and anxiety swirled around and up to a God…

  • Christian Living,  God,  Jesus Christ,  life,  Love

    Then Jesus

    This year I elected to go to a Good Friday service because this year I am struggling with the faith thing, with the Christian thing, with the God thing. I thought that maybe going to a service intended to bring everybody to the verge of depression would fit me better than the Sunday mornings I’ve struggled to connect with for a while. I’m not sure exactly what I wanted to find there, but something in me pulled me to that service. This is my tribe, this is where I come from. In my searching for answers to all the Whys and the WTFs I keep finding that I can only start…

  • God,  Love,  Motherhood

    Grapes of Fury

    He gets it from me. Maybe I gave it to him on accident, through the genetic concoction which gave him those gorgeous brown eyes and that caramel skin. Or maybe he saw me do it when I’ve failed the resistance against my tendencies. When I’m hurting deep I get angry and look for something (or someone) to blame. I look for a place to land my blows. I’ve got 27 years on him and I still throw tantrums. That night he took issue with my placement of grapes on his plate. It was during another dinner far from his table, far from his dad and his dog and the place he calls “home” from the…

  • Beauty,  Cancer

    Ten Seconds

    “How’re you doing today?” I asked to be cordial with our 10 second encounter. He answered warmly, “I’m alive and breathing.” He said it as if he were wearing vacation clothes instead of a red vest with a name tag, as if he were standing on an expansive beach instead of between two car lanes in a small glass box. It was one of the dozens of mornings my day started with a 45 minute drive last fall. After this I would grab my check-in ticket and shuttle over to the cold, sterile battlefront where Mom got her weekly radiation or met with another doctor or went over the chemo plan. The…

  • Beauty,  Cancer,  Christian Living,  God,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  Love,  Worship

    In The Likely Event that I Don't Get a Yearly Update In the Mail

    I didn’t get the Christmas New Year card out. Maybe I’ll squeeze it into the “Hey, we’re only a few days in and you know, life so it’s still acceptable for you to receive this” window. Probably not. I didn’t get the card out to tell everyone what a stupid, awesome, horrible, beautiful year we had. And I feel more compelled than I have in other years because this was a year. I mean, a damn year. This year earned her place in nostalgia – good and bad and ugly and lovely all swirling together in our memories. This year we saw God so.close. So up in our business that…