There are moments in life that create buoyancy for me. They keep me afloat. Tonight held one of those life-saving moments. My two-year-old daughter needed cuddle time. She’s sick at the moment. And I was beyond happy to curl up in her tiny toddler bed with her and her Chaucer Teddy bear and listen to her sweet little voice tell me all about her day. We sang, we prayed, and we shared stories. My heart is swollen with pure bliss of connectedness.
Even though my arms are black and blue from blown veins and I’ve battled the fainting all day and my fever is constantly over 100 by three pm, I can say with conviction that my life is truly wonderful. Oh, it could certainly be easier. Couldn’t every life be easier? But ease isn’t what makes it valuable. Convenience, comfort, luxury, even health….those amenities don’t by any stretch of the imagination equal joy. I have been wealthier in the past and been utterly miserable, haunted, and desperate for death. I have been healthier in the past and have sought to find ways to express my unspeakable soul-sickness. I have been better rested yet harbored such a deep weariness that I felt the weight of a thousand mountains upon my chest.
I am tired, sick, and suffering, but my life is so beautifully wrought with meaning. This is a hard dichotomy to grasp, and I suppose that it is not ideal, but God is so palpable during this season of my life. He is so gracious in providing these moments that bouy me up to the surface again when I begin to sink under the suffering. It never fails that when the suffering is at its worst, if I tarry, the joy is on its heels. Sometimes, the agony carries the joy right on its back, and they somehow present themselves intermingled together.
I spent so much of my life desperately running from suffering, unwittingly diving into deeper pits than I was running from. I am learning that suffering is not the monster that I once imagined it to be, and I am much more resilient than I knew was possible. The fear of suffering was the real enemy.
God is there in the trenches, in the tender touch of a two year old when she places her tiny fingers on the purple skin over my blown veins and says, “Mommy, I so sorry that you are hurt. Let me kiss your arm.” We are so blessed. So beyond blessed. The kingdom is carried in the cuddle of a two-year-old at bedtime.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”