If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then-for me, anyway- a profound dislocation. My old assumptions about how the world works are buried, yet my new ones aren’t yet operational. There’s been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible.
This is a post that I’ve started to write at least six times in the last week but every time I’ve hit sentence two I get completely lost. Recently, there’s just been an overwhelming sense of “this is the good stuff” in our lives, stuff made clear against a background of so much local and global stress.
As you may have seen, I’ve continued to follow little Cora’s journey. At one point I had to pull away: “Is it really healthy to start each morning in tears? Is this some weird hormonal, first-time-mom obsession?” and I’ve come up with, “Maybe we can try more deep breaths and not rush to complete body-consuming sadness while we read…” and “No.” Continuing to read her mother’s daily entries has been enlightening, a look at the world (and all the pain inside of it) with honest and faith-filled lenses. It is a strong reminder that there’s an option out there besides the “this world’s gone to shit” response when things don’t go my way.
When we hear stories like Cora’s don’t we tend to say/think “makes me grateful for what I have?” I don’t know about you but that never lasts for me. That somehow bypasses the pain. In doing the daily cry and really continuing to check in, I’ve learned of a family experiencing resurrection. I may not know what I’m talking about but I think when we do this, when we experience the pools of sadness and joy drawing from the same source, we stop looking around, counting out what we have on our fingers and toes and calling it “gratefulness.” We stop seeing goodness as the lack of “the bad” in our lives. We give thanks for all the gifts, even if we simultaneously wish we could return some of them. I think it can take time to get to this place though because it involves that willingness to be in the depths so that we can appreciate not just the heights but the upward journey.
This Tuesday Cora’s life will be celebrated in her home state of California. Her family is asking all in attendance to wear bright colors and hearts. We leave for the beach that morning, to celebrate a year that was deep and wide and good. We will be wearing the brightest colors we can find (and probably some tattoos hearts!!) in celebration of Cora and all children who have taught us so much in so little time and the light that continues to spread rainbows in the dark. I hope you’ll join us and add some color to your day too!