Today is Sparrow's birthday.
Moving through this grieving process has not been easy. It's a strange phenomenon how God can knit a child into your heart, and then take that child away.
But the love remains.
This past year has been hard. Really hard. I wish I could say that I've handled this whole situation with the upmost grace and wisdom and all things holy. I haven't. I've had bouts of anger. I've had wicked thoughts. I've had heartbroken thoughts. I've had thoughts of despair. I've had thoughts of apathy. It's been a struggle.
I'm an avid reader. One particular book I read since losing Sparrow ministered to my soul. A section I highlighted, ended up getting copied onto an index card and carried around with me on a daily basis. Shoved into my jeans pocket. Tucked into my jacket. A gentle reminder of my journey here.
"Jesus is not primarily a teacher of information or morals. His teachings go much deeper than that. He is a teacher of a way or a path that leads to change and transformation and a new heart brought about by a surrendered life deeply centered in God."
And I will go further to say that for me, the surrendered life is reached through suffering. As painful as is it, I've learned to recognize the sweet in it, as there is no other conduit that draws me closer to Jesus in such an intimate way.
Every winter, my parents go down to Florida. Last week, I drove the long drive down there so we could have a much needed respite. I desperately needed a reset. Admittedly, I did a horrible job of self-care last year and was not in a good place. I needed serious down time. On top of that, it seemed like day after day was never ending gray and rain and mud and cold and snow and just made me want to sit on my couch and do nothing.
Waking up to sunshine and warmth was an immediate relief. I know that sounds dumb, but that's how out of whack I was. We spent all Sunday by the pool and on the beach. I felt the sand in between my toes and let it fall through my fingers. I loved looking at all of the shells and walking on the beach with the girls. Slowly, I could feel some of the stress and anxiety dissipating.
Monday morning, my dad followed me to the Honda dealership. My minivan had been making a horrible noise and I was so incapacitated, that I didn't deal with it and just drove to Florida. I know. Stellar move. My dad heard the noise Sunday morning when we arrived and insisted we take it in first thing the next day.
Anyway, Josh in the service department wasn't feelin' our non-appointment, early morning drop-in. He wasn't fond of my sound descriptions either. I was a hot mess. I basically rolled out of bed, threw on a hoodie over my tank, flip flops, and a messy bun, standing there with my dad. Josh had an attitude and was clearly annoyed. I wanted to cry. I told him when I purchased the van, I also ended up getting some kind of expensive warranty that ended up covering a new engine 6 months after I bought the van. I said some other stupid stuff that I don't remember because I talk too much when I'm nervous. I get nervous when people are annoyed with me and Josh was just staring at me. He got up to go get the VIN number and the mileage off the van; I told my dad I thought we should just leave it there. I took my hoodie off because I was getting sweaty from being nervous and Josh was making his way back to the desk. I tried make a joke and asked him if he thought I was going to have to Fred Flintstone it back to Ohio. He looked at my sleeve, winked at me, and said, "I got you."
I blushed. I felt like a high school girl. Who knew my ink would turn my day around? I turned to my dad and he told Josh to give us a call when they figured it out. In the end, it needed two front axles replaced and some other stuff. Josh took care of it and made me feel like a million bucks when I picked it up. It's the little things like someone telling me, "I got you," or my dad basically holding my hand at the car shop because I was so worn down that I couldn't do that simple task myself. I needed his support.
I let myself just be. We didn't have an agenda. We rested. We played. We swam. We talked. We were quiet. I read. It was a healing time for me.
Roopa got baptized and we celebrated Munni's Forever family day. I'm so very thankful that we spent that time with my parents. My girls love them so much and each day with them is a gift.
One day on the beach, my mom and I were talking about Sparrow and the whole situation. She shared a story she heard. She said a man had been pondering the Trinity of God and tried to understand it as he walked along the beach. He came upon a little boy who was busy digging a hole in the sand. The little boy had a bucket and was running to the ocean, filling the bucket with water, running back to the hole, and dumping the bucket into the hole.
The man asked the little boy, "What are you doing?"
The little boy replied, "I'm putting the ocean in this hole."
The man gasped, "You'll never be able to do that!"
The little boy replied, "And you'll never be able to understand the Trinity."
It is such a great picture for me, because I will never understand God's ways. I'm learning each day, some days better than others, to open my hands, let go, and trust. For whatever reason, only he knows the purpose and specifically why I needed to go through it. He knew the transformation that would take place within me. It has taken me to a deeper place than I've ever been.
On the long 15 hour drive home, I had a lot of time to think and pray and listen to music. I was struck by one of Alanis Morissette's songs and thought, how did I want to be? Which refrain did I want my life to reflect?
Cause I've got one hand in my pocket
and the other one is giving a high five
and the other one is flicking a cigarette
and the other one is giving a peace sign
and the other one is playing a piano
and the other one is hailing a taxi cab
I decided that I want my other one to play the piano. In the pain of the journey, I want to make something beautiful ~ even if it's just plucking out a simple one-handed melody.
All week long we collected shells. Whole shells and broken shells. I thought about those shells throughout the week. I pondered how Jesus uses our broken state to make something beautiful. I look at my family and how each of us have our own broken shards, different colors, different shapes, and he has masterfully created the most breathtaking family mosaic from all of our individual pieces that none of us ever would have imagined. I love my girls with everything that I am; but I wouldn't be their mom if not for my broken pieces.