Not long ago, life took some unexpected turns that have had us hustling and running to catch up. We’ve spent time in hospital waiting rooms and stale cafeterias. We’ve shown up for a variety of tests, both invasive and benign. At the end of the testing we faced the verdict, which brought relief and a wait for a fix. We’ve prayed together and alone, we’ve updated everyone who cares, and we’ve had impossible conversations about what happens if the worst happens. I watched them wheel this man I adore past the swinging doors. That hour lasted a lifetime. When the procedure was done, they released us back into our lives.
When it was over, we sat with our anger and frustration. We should have felt relief, but we were scared and tired. We found all of this emotion that had accumulated over time. The feelings and the fears that we didn’t dare acknowledge, until it ended. The things we’d carried both alone and together. When we came to what felt like it might be the other side we made time to stop and reassess what we were carrying. To open up our hearts and acknowledge the bruises and blisters of this particular part of the path.
My mom told me once she didn’t feel any different now than she did when she was 17. I think I understand. I am the same person I was then. I’m just me. I rarely think about my age. I’ve earned my years and feel no need to hide them. The signs of life on my face and body are proof of my survival. But the past few months have brought together so many milestones in such a short period of time… a wedding, a grand baby, a major health crisis. It seems there is no getting around the fact that life is moving very fast. And we are getting older.
I’m not afraid that life is over, in fact I am thrilled about the life coming down the road. I love this place in our marriage, in our family, in my life. I love the freedom and the flexibility that this place allows. I enjoy this long time relationship and the simple pleasures of growing older together. I’m not sure that we need to do anything with all of this. Maybe, it’s enough to simply acknowledge it and keep going.
Although I’d love to have a crystal ball to give me insight into the future, I know that I am probably better off not knowing. Life will unfold in predictable and surprising ways. Our family is growing in both big tangible ways like stockings hung on the mantle. We are also growing in smaller more subtle ways, as our children come along side in moments of challenge offering support and encouragement in new ways. Family life is shifting and the load is being shared differently than before.
In the past few years, we’ve said goodbye to parents. We stood vigil as life gave way. We cried and grieved and carried on. These predictable losses have reminded me that life is more fragile and more beautiful than I ever imagined. It is moving swiftly and it’s easy to take it for granted. I want to savor and appreciate the quiet moments as well as the big events. I don’t want to miss a moment of this beautiful mess of a life.