I sat inside Ghostdad‘s truck in the Central Market parking lot bawling my eyes out. I am not one to cry, but I literally couldn’t control it.
Saturday was my birthday. I had woken up that morning to banners, signs and sweet cards from Ghostdad and the kids. Then a few hours later two sweet friends came by with a quarantine birthday treat. The night before I had been given handmade birthday cinnamon rolls. I was elated. Tudy said she wanted to make me a coconut cream cake (one of my favorites) and could I get her the ingredients. Ghostdad took care of the kids while I went to the store, a few moments alone to get the ingredients for the cake. While all this was going on, I knew my sister was across town. She had planned a fantastic first birthday party for my niece, with friends, and family, and I wanted more than anything to be there celebrating with them. But thanks to these strange days we are living in there would be no party, no sweet celebrations. At least not the way she had so beautifully planned.
Truthfully my heart was broken. I knew how much I had anticipated celebrating my birthday by celebrating my niece, Maggie, but I had no idea the depth of grief I was going to be feel on what should be a day of celebration.
Around two months ago I was talking with a sweet friend about the idea of being seen and known. When all of this started that idea kept playing over in my head.
Being seen and known.
I thought about how easy it is to live in the house with people and coexist with them but, due to the pressures of daily living, stop knowing them.
I even offered this up as a challenge to myself and many others around me, “Take advantage of this time, however difficult.” “Get to know the things that drive the struggles and successes of your family.” “Learn what your spouse is struggling with, what drives your children to be the best version of themselves.”
As hard as this has been, I have relished the slow down. The time to take my kids on walks, cook dinner and do school in the middle of the floor. I have loved the simple moments of knowing my family again. What I didn’t anticipate was what this was going to do to me.
Our life is hard, and it is messy. Most people’s is. I have grown accustomed to the idea of grief. That sounds depressing to say, but I have had to battle it in so many different capacities that I thought I knew myself and my response to it pretty well. I had worked on seeing and knowing those around me, but I forgot to see and know me.
I am fiercely independent, and I love the way God has used that in me over the course of my lifetime. It has given me an ability to step out and explore the world around me on my own terms. It is, I believe, why I can sit in a hospital for a week at a time. Of course, I miss my home and my people, but I am usually “Ok”.
I have a sweet relationship with Ghostdad that has been shaped and molded over trials and frustration and grief and pain. Don’t get me wrong, it is so insanely flawed but it is good and what the Lord knew was needed. I think I have been so immersed in the rhythm of our life that really learning who I am in this season has been lost.
I think I have been so immersed in the rhythm of our life that really learning who I am in this season has been lost.
And so, on the Saturday of my 34th birthday, I sat in a grocery store parking lot amidst one of the strangest periods of modern American history with my face in my hands, completely broken. Not because I didn’t enjoy being home, or my kids or my family, but because I missed community.
I realized how much the Lord had softened my spirit to the people around me. How much I relished the simple hellos and hugs, friendly snark and sarcasm. I missed the people the Lord had used to make me feel known. I saw for the first time in a long time not only the magnitude of the Lord‘s love for my family and situation, but how much amidst all of it He had reached down and given me people to embrace me. And so, I will always remember my Covid birthday as a year of grief and gratitude, and the best ever coconut cream cake ☺️
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