Days to celebrate life.
Life that gives hope and promise and new beginnings.
Life born out of pain and received in joy and love
Three birth days celebrated in past weeks– my daughter’s sixteenth, my joy, my heart,
born sixteen years ago out of intense labor pain
the same pain my mother bore for me.
My mother’s 90th birthday celebrated days later
and a few days after that,
the most joyous of days to celebrate new birth born out of pain… Easter.
On Easter morning we sing this song ,a song that embraces the beauty born out of pain:
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things You make beautiful things out of us
–-Beautiful Things by Gungor
In its hard barren things that we come across
buried under daily happenings
grief, sorrow, isolation, loneliness,
somehow out of these broken things
in this dust a garden arises
Out of chaos life is being found in you….
After a week of creative chaos
Two milestone birthdays and Easter–
all reasons to celebrate life…
life at the beach celebrating sixteen year old wonders… life around balloons and birthday cake celebrating the wonder of turning 90… life around the table celebrating the wonder of eternal life on resurrection Sunday
… the chain of worry, of planning, controlling, perfecting is broken by the cross on Easter.
The joy of life replaces darkness.
The light of love shatters all, breaks the hold that daily worries and fears have over me. Symbols of new life were placed around the house–
bread broken on Holy Thursday
a cross from Jerusalem
a painting of an olive tree in Gethsemane Do these symbols that take a place in my home take place in my heart?
When I share the broken bread with each of my children, I remember the broken places in my heart–
the places that watch my mom diminish from Alzheimer’s
the places of her failing life chipping away at mine
the places that slowly ebb away at my life that could render me drowning in sorrow
until I choose to remember that out of pain comes something new.
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all Mom’s memories are becoming lost. At times she struggles to remember our names. She could not comprehend it was her birthday. She did not know she was 90. Yet the things that are lost are replaced with a joy in the moment. In beauty in each moment. In complete and wondrous joy in the bouquet of flowers I brought to her on her birthday. In the the joy of hearing the sentiments of loved ones I read to her from Facebook wishing her a happy birthday. In singing “Happy Birthday to Me” as she blew candles from a cake as her caregivers and family friends gathered around her.
Mom loves gardens. She loves flowers. In her brief walks around the neighborhood she loves to study the different flowers and comment how beautiful they are. Though much is lost, much is found in the beauty in each moment that she chooses to see. In the color of the flowers. In the sound of music played on piano keys. In the faces of her grandchildren. And on Easter, when we sing this song of new life, of things being made new, made beautiful out of dust
its words are a balm to my parched soul, weary of this journey.
For all of us are being made new in these lessons of caregiving of walking daily with someone who lives only in the present and only sees the good, the beautiful in each moment.
Life in the middle–
now the mother of a sixteen year old daughter
and the daughter of a ninety year old mother
in the midst of adolescent giggles and ninety year old stubbornness
there is beauty and things are being made new.
Places we are marked are the places that allow us to touch others. Pain carves deep etchings into our soul places marked by loss, hurt, places we did not expect to be.
I did not expect this this place of mothering my mother at the same time mothering my daughter, this place where I savor the quiet moments of sharing secrets once shared with my own mother
secrets about love, about being loved, about being comfortable in your own skin about loving yourself fully so that you can love others fully
secrets my mother may have never communicated verbally but demonstrated daily.
Hope is springing up from this old ground…
You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new I don’t comprehend all the things I am learning from this journey
Each day I am weary from the length and its constant presence. But along this old ground, this path I’ve trod for years
I look for places where hope springs up…
A sweet smile, a tender hug, a “thank you for taking care of me”…
and I am made new.