One of my friends recently asked me why she wasn’t getting my blog posts in her inbox anymore, and I sheepishly had to admit that it was probably because I hadn’t blogged in over a month. That was a couple weeks ago, and it has now been a month and a half. And there are many reasons, both happy and hard ones, but the point is, here I am. I’m in my chair, I’m writing a blog.
…And since that first paragraph, another four days have passed.
That’s the way my life has been lately. Going into September, I was already stretched to my limit, time-wise, and then a couple of things happened at once to derail me, both my confidence and my schedule. Since then, we’ve been caught in the whirlwind that is the back-to-school, kids-in-the-play, back-to-teaching, impending-deadlines, always-on-the-go rush.
And grief has wrecked me like a tsunami crashing over all of it. Grieving relationships that have changed, and I don’t know if they will ever be whole again. Grieving my son. Grieving for the children who lost a brother. Grieving for things I’ve had to let go of. Grieving for others who are going through hard times.
This fall, Levi would have been in grade 1. Yeah, that had something to do with my silence.
It’s been a period of craziness. But in some ways, (like blogging, for instance), it’s been a period of much-needed rest.
You know, I love my job. My jobs. All of them. Mom, teacher, writer, knitwear designer—I can hardly believe that I get to do all of my dream jobs, that I get to be my own boss. But for the last six weeks, I’ve had a lot of days where it just felt like a slog. It felt like I had regressed in how I’m handling my grief.
Last week, I actually caught myself trying to remember a period of my life where I had just felt … happy. Have you ever done this? Some period when I was not stressed out about the change that just happened, not discontent with where I was, not striving for the next stage. That day, believe it or not, I did come up with a brief time period that happened several years ago—not just shiny in the light of nostalgia, either. I remembered how, at the time, I’d feared the change that would inevitably come, as I knew about life’s changeable nature, and that nothing is permanent—not even bliss.
As I lay in bed, thinking these morose thoughts as I tried to stop crying so I could go to sleep, it had been a bad day. A cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat sort of day. An I-can’t-believe-I’m-still-doing-this-after-three-years kind of day.
Today was better. And from the perspective of today, I know that last week, I was wrong.
There will always be things that I’m dealing with. There will always be that sense of ebb and flow through seasons, times where my life seems more peaceful than others. But my happiness doesn’t depend on those circumstances.
I’m still dealing with PTSD. And I suspect this fresh wave of grief has to do with the developmental phase that Levi would have reached as well as the shifting phases of my other three children. Plus, whether the grief triggered my insecurities or my insecurities triggered the grief, they both seem to have been escalating lately. But that doesn’t mean my life is bad. Far from it. Because through all of that, I’m happy now.
In the middle of the hard, I still have joy.
The real take-away for me is to remember that feelings are temporary. Sure, I’m going through a trough right now, but a trough means a swell is on the way. Feelings change. Life changes. Pain heals. Strength is gained.
I’ve come this far, by the grace of God, and it’s because of his grace that I know he’s not going to leave me here. He loves me too much. So I’m going to keep moving forward, toward the goal and the prize he has set before me.
Because with everything that changes in this life, he is the constant.
And for that, I am grateful.
Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)
Jane Laurie Borthwick, Jason Ingram, Jean Sibelius, Kari Jobe, Kathrina Amalia von Schlegel
Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In ev'ry change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul thy best thy heav'nly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
Be still my soul thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope thy confidence let nothing shake
All now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still my soul the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below
In You I rest in You I found my hope
In You I trust
You never let me go
I place my life within Your hands alone
Be still my soul
(Be still my soul be still my soul)
Be still my soul the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointment grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot Love's purest joys restored
Be still my soul when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last