looking through me

Tag: generations


I bite on expectation’s illusion, but often the flavor of my days doesn’t pan out as I assumed it would.

Like Monday . . .

Grandpa’s surgery was delayed several hours and then took much longer than the doctors anticipated.

As I waited for updates, an email landed in my inbox saying a friend’s grammy slipped away while her daughters held her hands—and no amount of expectation makes it easier to witness the fabric of a family forever altered.

My heart ached under the heaviness of the unexpected. I prayed over and over, “God . . . please . . . I trust you . . . help my unbelief . . . hold us when we can’t hold on . . . please . . . God.”

Later in the day, when my friend called to talk through the details of how to best mourn with her family—wear black to the funeral, but don’t send flowers—where was I? In the grocery store. I listened to one heart grapple with the unwieldy weight of grief as I collected ingredients to serve to other weary hearts.

Because in the swirl of unexpected, sometimes food is the best love I can offer.

So I plucked mint leaves, squeezed a lemon and grated parmesan for mint-pea pesto. I sliced mozzarella, pitted plums, toasted pine nuts and reduced vinegar for a salad. And all the while I begged for God’s mercy to envelop and nourish those I love.

In days filled with the souring of expectations, I can call my people to the table and feed them . . . and sometimes, that is sweet enough.


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coffee with grandma

I stopped after work to have coffee with Grandma.

It’s been more than a year since she last drank a cup, but I doubt she minds. Whatever the heavenly brew is, it must be better than any she ever savored here.

My head knows I’m no closer to Grandma at the cemetery than anywhere else. My heart knows I’m not here out of obligation or even to grieve.

But it’s here—in the open space, in the relative still and relative quiet—I breathe a little easier. It’s here as I pray aloud through Psalms 16 and 116 that I feel God’s gracious hand of peace not removing the grief but holding it with me.

Here, I can simply be.

I sit still and allow the internal noise to quiet in the simple proximity to that eternal line—here a finishing line, there a starting line.

Here, I remember all the stuff—the work stresses, the tragedies layered over the atrocities, the nagging irritants of daily life—is real but it is tertiary at best. Relationships, with God and people, outweigh all else.

The late afternoon shadows spread but don’t quite make it to Grandma’s headstone or the sunflowers Mom left this morning. A mourning dove settles on a distant branch.

Even in a cemetery, life goes on.

A lone tear lands on the Bible resting in my lap. My coffee cup sits empty beside me. I unfold my legs, trace the dates on Grandma’s headstone and let my gaze linger for a minute longer on the psalmist’s words: “in your presence there is fullness of joy.”

A year into this newness it doesn’t feel normal yet—not at all—but the joy pulsing through the sorrow is full indeed.


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