I caught a glimpse of her on the trampoline as I wiped the dining room table clean. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her long blonde hair dancing wildly in each gust of wind. I turned to watch her and my heart fell. She wasn’t jumping or rolling or dancing the way she usually does. She was sitting, legs crossed, back to the wind. Just sitting. No smile crossed her lips. Instead, she scowled unblinkingly across the yard.
This little girl of mine is always feeling something big. Whether it’s ecstatic joy or the darkest sadness, she doesn’t ever seem to just . . .be. So when something hard comes along, I know to expect big feelings. And big tears.
And sometimes I just don’t understand that.
See, while she’s out in the wind, leaning into her feelings, acknowledging her own hurt, I’m inside furiously wiping counters and tables, straightening pillows and making beds. Desperately avoiding the hurt and the tears. I used to be really good at this. My husband and sister like to point out all the times I didn’t cry when I should’ve. I’m been called the Ice Queen.
So maybe it’s the fact that I’m over 30 now and my body is just done with it, or maybe I’m just tired of holding it all in, but I put my towel down and walked out into the wind and sat next to my daughter. We scowled at the yard together while our hair whipped our faces and we cried together and we told each other how this hard thing is just the worst. And then we bounced. And we laughed.
We felt our way through yesterday. We let ourselves cry and yell and then smile and laugh.
Today, as hard as this is to write and as much as it doesn’t make sense, I’m thankful for hard things. I’m thankful for the strength that’s uncovered and the vulnerability revealed. I’m thankful for all the feelings that bring us closer to the people we care about.
I’m thankful for hard things because at the end of them I can look back and see how God has worked everything together and how He’s gotten me through.
I know there will be more tears and that this particular hard thing is far from over. And when it’s over, a new hard thing will come in its place. We can chose to dwell on the hardness, on the pain and the struggle. Or, even amidst the tears and sadness, we can embrace our feelings and then fight to chose joy.
What are you thankful for?