Joyful, sad, all in one week. Isn't that what happens when you're an adult? Last time I thought about it: yup, that was it. I'm far too sad about a whole host of things - maybe it's the hot weather, pressing down on all of us and causing me to check my happiness. Sometimes I think life tries to balance itself out between tears of joy and tears of grief. Sometimes I think it's about as good at that as the Texas weather is about balancing sunshine and rain: not so much these days. We all have both; right now I simply have an over-abundance of sadness.
Today I read Kelly's heartbreaking and beautifully written post of two men my age taken from their families too young and it cut my heart in two. I watched Jennie Parillo's One Last Dance video that she posted of the last time her husband swirled their little girl around the living room and I cried tears of grief (for someone I don't even know) and of fear (for people I do - and love dearly).
I see my gloriously brave neighbor and her family, fighting cancer for the third time in eight years. She is my hero: a woman who faces down death itself and gets a second degree black belt at the same time. She roars and marches on where I would lie down in the middle of the road and give in. And still I'm scared for her - probably more scared than she can allow herself to be. "Oh Lord, visit and heal thy suffering servant..."
I hear that, after years of awesome parenting and self-sacrifice of the kind that would make me whine like a dog, a dear, dear friend is being challenged in court to keep custody of her beloved child. Her gracious, giving nature has caused her to be much more sinned against than sinning all these years, and what is the payment for that? Ugliness, a court battle, and a creeping fear that, despite her blamelessness, something will still go horribly wrong.
I have prayers for all of this, and more, and most days I say them and carry hope with me. But sometimes the fear suffocates me, as it does all of us. Today has been one of those days. A day of trying and failing to catch my breath and of feeling an ache in the pit of my stomach that has been absent for some time. Life is so good, and yet sometimes so short; so sweet and yet so painful. It's a struggle for all of us to live for the moment we have been given right now, and to celebrate this life as much as we can. To not give into fear, but to look to the light in all we have been given.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." And forgive me my fear, yet once again.