I drove to the cemetery last week and sat awhile, the silence and faded flowers an odd comfort. The mountains in the distance remind me of places far away. Places I am going and places I have been. Memories settle around me like flower petals, velvety and smooth.
But with it, a promised peace.
My twin sons graduated from high school this week, and it has stirred up all sorts of emotion. Really? When did that happen? When did my little babies turn into strong young men? When did they pass me in height and strength?
When did they stop holding my hand when we crossed the street?
I suppose when you have lost a child you no longer take youth for granted. Ten years ago Marissa stood on that same platform with shining face and hopeful heart. What are my boys thinking as they venture on into life? Sorrow is no stranger to them. They carry fewer assumptions than most teenagers but hopefully a firm assurance of truth and eternity, of God. I pray they will offer their lives to Him with open hands and faith-filled hearts, welcoming the sunshine without worrying about how quickly the storms can come.
I pray they will not be afraid.
Last May we gathered around my mother’s deathbed. This will be the first Mother’s Day that I have no one to thank and no one to call. No flowers to send.
The first year I am mother without being child.
All the years a breath.
And it is the breathing that hurts sometimes.
On the final trip I took to visit my mother last year, I sat next to a woman who never stopped talking about herself, never asked me one question. She announced that Mother’s Day was her favorite day, recounting all the activities, all the traditions that her family kept to celebrate her.
But I know that I can’t be the only mom to shrink back a little from the accolades. To feel a little worn with all the giving, all the stretching. To know the heaviness of struggle and faltering.
I know that I am not the only mom to need a bit of grace.
For the every-day-giving-up-self kind of loving. For doing all the hard things. For the disappointments, the good-byes. For living every moment of this story written for me.
Grace. I need grace for the breathing.
And He pours it out on me, a perfect grace.
It is enough for every shadowed crevice. It cleanses and heals me, covers me. Awakens all of my hushed, imperfect praise.
It draws me to the only One who has ever loved completely and perfectly.
From His fullness, He gives it freely, grace upon grace.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:14,16