It’s just a matter of time.
He’ll force your hand. Just as He is forcing mine back to the keyboard. Believe me, I’ve resisted.
But, believe me, resistance is futile.
The tune pours through the speakers while the washer churns the familiar whoosh of a Mama trying to wash it all away. Though we try, it’s just not quite that simple.
The washer churns, the melody whispers, and the rat-tat-tating of the keyboard remind me You are in charge.
It’s been a few days now. A few days since that Caring Bridge post. And, truth? I’m sick of Caring Bridge posts. No. I’m sick of cancer. I hate cancer. There, that should be the place I start.
She asked me, well, I suppose it’s been about twenty months now…
She asked me to write a little something for her. Something about the co-op. The place our friendship began a decade ago. The place homeschool moms gather to make the Swiss cheese of homeschooling work just a little better. A place we pray God will fill those holes we are sure we have left. We are quite good at being terribly hard on ourselves.
It was the tenth anniversary of this little place we called home. This place we now ache to re-create. But how could we have known? How could we have known some things just can’t be remade.
She emailed me and asked if I would put together some words about what the co-op meant to us. How the homeschool away from home had helped us – before we moved away.
Of course I would. Sure. No problem. Anything for you, my friend. I’ll get right to it…
And for the life of me, I can’t find that email. I always delete the wrong things.
And for the life of me, I can’t recall what I was so busy doing that I never did write that little post.
You’re such a great writer. I’d really appreciate it.
A smile, wink, and a little xo. That’s all she asked.
And for the life of me, I don’t know why we don’t remember time passes, life changes, and friends die.
Well, my sweet homeschooling soul sister, I haven’t forgotten my promise. I know this world-wide web runs deep and wide, but I pray the veil is thin enough for you to see I’m keeping my promise.
How can I adequately describe what a place means? How a place of gathering mothers can lift you out of your deepest pits and darkest moments. How this place can bring joy and relief. How this same place can cause aggravation and frustration.
How can I explain people we hardly know become our best friends, and when we leave them, we suddenly realize they are the very roots of us?
How can I show you the women with whom we carry children, in our bellies and on our hips, are the women who really show us how to live this thing we call motherhood?
How can I make clear – the women with whom we share the loss of a baby are the women who help us to be the very weakest, and the very strongest?
I can’t remember much about the lesson plans. I don’t recall the details of heated debates about dress codes, curriculum, and what God really intends for us to accomplish every single school year. I just don’t remember that. I’m sure you didn’t either. Shows us how much that matters, doesn’t it, sister?
I do remember the worn weary mamas pushing strollers, clutching tiny hands, and chasing pre-teens through the four seasons of this little East Coast town.
I do remember the scuttle and scurry of kids, pressed and wind-blown at the same time, rushing for seats in a chapel. We couldn’t be late, you know. I giggle now at the thought of these bleary-eyed moms grasping coffee cups like their very existence might be hinged to the sweet liquid in those porcelain vessels.
I do remember the settled silence after kids were quietly gathered with tutors, whose hearts poured beauty into the souls of our precious young.
I do remember the sparkling eyes, knowing looks, and mom high-fives as we finished one more good day.
There are so many questions, and one short life.
I could go on about a place, but, you know, it’s not about a place at all. It is always, always about the people.
I suppose you knew this deep in your spirit as your body failed.
You, ever the one to hold it together.
Ever the one to keep us moving forward. Ever the one picking up my boy for a play date when I. could. just. not. do. one. more. thing. You, ever the one to bring that spaghetti casserole when my warrior was deployed yet again – the casserole that became our favorite and saved us from frozen pizza. How many times did you save me?
You, ever the one who offered not just to sit with me a while, but to stay overnight, when a new baby – number six this time – and another deployment threatened to leave me chasing sleep like that elusive carrot.
You, always the one to serve. Always.
That’s it. That’s what I remember about that place. You, and them. The people who watched you serve, and in turn, served.
I do remember the Sonic milkshakes, and the Panera lunches. I do remember the endless conversations about politics, the state of the country, and where in the world should we go? Someplace safe.
Well, I made it there. The place we always talked about going.
And, you know what? It’s not safe. No safer than any other. Maybe we aren’t meant to be safe. Maybe, instead, we are meant to step into the holy wilderness that is God’s plan. The Holy Wild that is God. This place where control evades us, and true peace falls upon us.
You, the one seeking to love Him first. To love Him more.
I suppose – though I’d love nothing more than one more hug with a chocolate milkshake – the reward for that kind of seeking is seeing Him face-to-face. And maybe, because of you, we will all seek with that same fervent spirit that leads us beyond our fears – and our fiercest earthly nightmare.
You fought this good fight, and, God knows, you fought to live. And in His most radical love, He brought you into the Place we dread and long for… all at the same time. The Place we truly live.
May our trust truly be without borders.
I smile now, knowing I saw your face. Friday night. Behind my closed eyes, in the silence where His voice whispers the truth we are dying to hear…
I saw your face, you smiled, and your eyes whispered,
Heaven is beautiful.
My friend, here is my promise fulfilled. May the words find you whole and healed, in the arms of our Savior.
The clouds surround me now, while I lift tear-soaked hands in gratitude for our ever-growing cloud of witnesses…
And, there, I see your face.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.