I smile. All the time. I smile. My answer is always the same: everything’s good. Everything’s great. We are happy.
And this is truth: we are happy. We are happy to be together. Our home has given us a fresh joy for stepping into the next season. Our friends have lent us their laughter whenever we seem to have lost our own. We are happy.
And in this joy, we are grieving. Our grandfather is buried somewhere or cremated God knows where. The boys never got to say goodbye to their refuge and home of so many years; because, far before they lived there, grandma and papa’s house was always our safe place. We are fearing the future. We are anxious over new bills and budgeting. We are learning new life skills, chores, and how to rely on God as Our Protector, God as Our Father, and God as My Husband in new ways than anyone can imagine. El Roi-the God who sees-is ever present every day. We are living in a tension between accepting this life, surviving and thriving this life, yet having very few people who understand or even try to understand. Oh, but the people who admit they could never understand, yet promise to be here in this alongside us, oh those are the beautiful ones. The Ones we don’t have to answer a million questions to, the One’s who aren’t concerned with the process, but, rather the soul and its worth-yes, those are the Ones we can find our rest with; and when it seems our rest has been stolen, those are the One’s that remind us how to connect with the vine again.
And this is what I am desperate for you to understand, my dear friends, supporters, cheerleaders, parents, whatever role you have played: my heart is heavy all the time, but we are happy. And, if ever my smile seems forced, it probably is, because something has been trained inside of me, telling me the lie that true joy is only found in that ear to ear smile. But what if you could see my joy when I can lean on your shoulder and sob? Because joy is still so present in those aches and tears. Have we not acclaimed the woman who let her tears soak Jesus’ feet? The woman who ceremonially prepared him for his burial? She was not shedding those tears with a smile, but rather mourning. And it was beautiful. It was called beautiful by the receiving Savior.
And you may ask me how I am; and I will probably smile and tell you the same thing: I’m good. We’re good. We’re happy.
And we are. But sometimes, there is a lump in my throat and a heaviness weighing down my insides that I can’t quite pinpoint. My spirit is being aged and my tears burst out in sudden bolts, and joy is just as present in these moments as it is in the moments of laughter. Because the Giver and Creator of Joy and all Joyous Things calls those tears a Beautiful Thing.
And if you ask me what’s wrong, I won’t be able to tell you, because I still don’t know for sure. But I do know that I am in a sacred season, and the weight of glory is heavy upon me, breaking the walls I’ve so destructively built.