If there was ever a season that life began to make complete sense, it is now. It really shouldn't though. This year has been cruel to my family, the waves keep crashing into each of us, yet I have found a version of peace. "It is easy to be heavy, it is hard to be light" is how I described my old friend to a room of mourning strangers. I think I knew half of what that truly meant back then. Only recently does her memory flood over me and I can really feel the depth of that phrase.
It is easy to wallow in pain felt, the past can become the well in which we draw, judgement we disburse and even the lack of empathy we possess. It is easier to fall apart than not. It is easier to see what is wrong, to feel the offense, regret, jealousy, anger and resentment . It can be easier to blame and hold a grudge, than to forgive.
I stayed in this sense of endless sadness when my dad got sick this year. By getting sick I mean having an out of the blue major stroke that caused him extensive brain damage and loss of all that parts that made him my dad. I was so angry during that time. We took him off of life support and waited, but he didn't die right away. So we had to leave him and go back to our lives. I remember wondering through an airport in Dallas and staring at all the girls that were my age and all the men that were his age and being so jealous that they got to still have a father and be a man. But we were left with nothing. Never another phone call, never another word of wisdom or laughter or a shared joke. My father is a shell and no matter how hard I tried to fix him, I just couldn't .
I got lost in that. In my misery. I looked for blame and answers and in the midst of it found anger.
Life is not a balance of good and bad. It is a giant mess of why me, why them, why us and why now? I am certain that those whys find us. They sneak into our lives in the most unexpected ways and send waves of pain crashing over and around us for years to come. It is not how we live in these moments that make them easier, it was how we lived in the ones proceeding it that keep us together.
I will always know what my dads laugh sounds like, because we laughed so often together. I still have the pair of earings he gave me the Christmas I saw him and hold in my memories the dance at my wedding, the first car ride, the road trips and soccer games and how home made whipping cream in my coffee will always remind me of the summer we spent in Argentina. Those are the things that fill my heart and remind me of him.
I know that life is bigger than the pain we endure. It is as big as the memories we craft. They are made on uneventful Tuesday's, on the drive home, over Sunday brunch, through a cell phone or a long walk. It is the small moments we spend being light that opens our minds and hearts to really be alive. It gives us hope, empathy, compassion and kindness and those are the tools for true joy. I think we have to stop complaining about our lives and soak up each stage and each chapter, cause only when you seek the silver lining do you ever find it.