"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are."
-Dinah Maria Mulock
Ian loves his ball blanket. That is what he calls it; his blue ball blanket. The one I got on clearance at Target and will never find a replacement for. As he falls asleep his chubby hands search for the corner. Not the one with my quick fix gluing. He still has not let me forget how I put glue on the unraveling corner and forever changed the feel of it. He finds the one that is smooth and pointed and rubs it on his eyes, nose, and cheek and drifts to sleep. There are moments when he has been hurt that my yell of "Everybody stop and help me find Ian's ball blankie" gets Luke and Levi moving faster than if I had yelled "ice cream for dinner". They know that the ball blankie comforts where even ice packs and kisses cannot.
I am not good at talking about the hard parts of life. I was made, like Levi, for belly laughing and silliness. I would rather explore the woods for moss and ferns and play legos and nerf sword-fight than wear the heavy cloak of grief.
I had a friend stop by today, and words poured out onto the driveway between us. Clunky words describing how much I hated congestive heart failure, how much I hated my weakness, hated my tears, the struggle to trust when I know HE IS GOOD. I used the word hate, a word the boys are not allowed to use. But it poured out of me between the "I am sorry" and the "I am not always like this..." But today I am . Today I am not wanting my dad in the hospital again, not wanting broken relationships, not wanting all the unknowns that are testing my faith and joy. So I choke out the fears with family and friends. I share them in the hospital room, while standing in the driveway, and twisting a napkin on a couch beside Jeff. How will we leave with it all like this. Jeff and I pray and talk and talk and pray. Friends call and stop by and nudge me out of hiding. And they are safe. Safe to let the guard down and let them stand with me in faith when I am ready to sit the bench for a day.
Luke and Levi saw me crying during worship at church. They know that Papa will come home from the hospital again this time. We get more time. More laughs and more tears. And Luke whispered to me that he knows even when Papa doesn't come home we will get to have him forever because of heaven. Levi adds that next time he goes into the hospital we should sneak in a black marker and write P after all the ICU signs. "Get it?!?" he giggles, "everyone will read ICUP"...How sweet it is to have them understand the crying and the laughter that comes with loving.
The biggest blessings and the most painful parts in life are tied up in relationships. The most vulnerable and most secure. I am thanking God today for the relationships He has brought into my life. The ones I don't deserve. The ones that are a comfort and safe place. I don't have a blue ball blankie, but I am pretty sure I know the feeling it brings Ian. I know the balm of family and friendship in hard seasons. What it is like to have them hug you without words. I pray that there is someone you can cry with and not just belly laugh with. Who can stand with you in the pain and not just in the joy. This week I pray that you are able to see and thank Him for the painful blessing of relationship.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love."
"Jesus replied, "love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:
Love your neighbor as yourself."