So, this past Sunday was Mother’s day, and for me it overflowed with an immense range of emotions. It seemed to all center around the concept of hope, both new hope with its endless possibility and crushed hope with its painful finality. For starters, it was my first Mother’s day as a mom of two, and we were having Caedmon dedicated at church that morning surrounded by friends and family. I have so much hope for our kids, I want them to feel free and safe and loved. It was my first Mother’s day without my Mom, she lost her battle with depression last October, and all the hopes and prayers I had for her healing and freedom went with her. And to add weight to my already heavy heart, one of my students from UCM, Stacy, had died of a drug overdose just the day before. I have so much hope for all of our students and to lose one to drugs was a kick in the gut. I had special hope for Stacy, and I told her this often.
And so there I was Mother’s day morning with my tummy full of a tasty French Toast breakfast made by Kel, on my way to church. As we made our way to the front with all the other parents I started to lose it. There I was holding my son, a little guy with a life full of hope, a little guy my Mom never got to meet because all the hopes I had for her couldn’t save her from depression. And on my heart was a student who I loved, and encouraged, and prayed for, gone in an instant from a bad choice on a Friday night. So I was holding hope in my arms while my heart was heavy from hope that didn’t pan out. I am fairly certain I was the only Mom up there weeping, just trying to process the dichotomy of this world we live in where the beauty of dedicating my sweet son and the tragedy of sudden death coexist in my heart.
Some days are heavy with bitter pain and some days are as light as meringue or whipped cream, and just as sweet. I think the ones that really get me are the bittersweet ones, trying to feel immense joy and sadness at the same time. It seems like they don’t belong together, like they should be corralled apart from each other, and experienced separately. But life is messy, isn’t it?
The more I do life on this planet the more I come to realize that it’s not black and white and it is certainly messy. There are at least a million less absolutes than there were when I was in college. When I was sure I had it mostly figured out, as long as it didn’t involve managing money or going to bed before midnight I was an expert. But now? I don’t have it even close to all figured out, and I am at peace with that. I have completely stopped trying to figure out why things happen. I choose to focus on what, as in “now what?” I choose to live in spite of things and I choose to live in response to things. And I refuse to give up hope, even when it’s budding out of the ashes of something lost.
So Happy Mother’s Day, hold on to hope and don’t forget to water the flowers you inevitably received. I always get hanging baskets, because that’s the way it should be, you just can’t celebrate a mom without a basket of suspended flowers.