thanks in all circumstances.

Do I wanna dust off the Good Enough Girl? That…is the question. I’m not sure. But after perusing my blog last week, I wondered about revving it back up. Thanks to “sheltering in place” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have more space for reflection/writing and less comings-and-goings to distract me. It was strange to read my latest post, dated the last month of 2017. My journey had already taken a turn down a dark path, but I wouldn’t know it for another year. In January 2019, life as I knew it blew apart and sent me tumbling into a pit of grief akin to nothing else I’ve experienced. I never saw it coming. 

However.

I’ve been thinking.

The most excruciating year of my life (thus far) was not without favor. And I feel it’s worth noting. Sometimes reading back on my written words makes me cringe. But I always love re-reading and re-remembering those people, places, and events that cheered and fortified me. I need reminders that the Light has never extinguished. That Love was always present.

So…

I landed myself a job. A paying job. After 15 years of staying home full-time and homeschooling my offspring, I took a job mixing up baked goods and assembling sandwiches and washing dishes. So you know…all the things I’ve been doing for the last 15 years…except now I actually get paid. Last summer, amidst all hell breaking loose, I pondered seeking out a part-time job, in an effort to pull myself out of my extracurricular ruminating. But I was already exhausted and the idea of starting a search – after 15 years of being off the workforce grid – seemed overwhelming. I jotted a brief note to God: “If you want me to have a job, I need you to bring it to me.” Early December found me sitting on the front porch of a newly opened coffee shop/bakery when the owner – a friend – came out to say hello, then asked, “Are you coming to work for me? Just show up when you’re ready.” So I did. Since the last day of 2019, I’ve been in the kitchen – makin’ some green, working for prayerful/intentional owners and an unflappable manager, and having my spirit buoyed by the youthful exuberance and hopeful outlook of a large conglomerate of millennials and Generation Zers. It’s been real, real good for my heart. 

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I spent a week in Colorado. Good gracious, that place. That heavenly parcel of country. Lately I’ve been daydreaming about our outing to the Great Sand Dunes followed by our hike up to Zapata Falls. The dunes were gorgeous and stunning and made me feel small in the best way. The 8yo turned out to be a natural at sand-boarding; I could have watched her all day. I met a sweet set of four tow-headed siblings from North Carolina – they offered their boards to the girls – and later had a lengthy conversation with their mom. I love how kind and friendly people can be when they’re traveling. The water at the falls was frigid but the challenge of hiking through the ankle-deep cold, navigating the mossy rocks, then eating lunch and drying out in the sunshine on a boulder above the creek, my grief temporarily diminished by the sound of water crashing through stone and moving across the earth – it felt divine. The 12yo claims our climb to the falls was better than all the museums she’s visited in Europe. I’ve never been to Europe but I bet she’s right. We came to a standstill in traffic on our way back to the cabin but I didn’t mind. Mountains and plains and big sky all around, in every direction. Creation always soothes my soul, even when it’s a field of scorched grass in west Texas, but the dunes and the falls did more than soothe – they patched up a tiny part of my heart. 

I found my gang. There is something about trauma and grief that scares many people away. But…some come closer. A few of those magnificent humans grabbed my hand last year and haven’t let go. They have muddled through their own pain and discomfort to be near, to console, to reassure, and to empower me. During a season of my life when so many things died, the presence of these companions was life-giving. As I’ve attempted to stitch my heart back together, they’ve stood by with needle, thread, and well-timed expletives. So much gratitude. Words seem inadequate.  

These thoughts I share so I can one day re-read and recall the ways my heart began to mend amid such immense loss…and remember that Love never left me alone.

8 thoughts on “thanks in all circumstances.

  1. Jana, it’s great to hear from you… to hear you say that you can look back and know that the Light has never extinguished and that Love was always present.

  2. I was so happy to see this post in my inbox. I LOVE to read your writing; I always have. Glad for our socially distant waves recently 😉

  3. Jana! You’re back! (I hope!) Like Carlee I was thrilled to see this in my inbox. I have loved seeing you back in that kitchen. It almost makes me wish I worked there, but not enough to actually work there. If I had to or wanted to that would be the first place I would go! I especially love that you found your people. Please keep writing. Your voice is strong and needed.

  4. Jana! It’s so great to have your writing back. My heart did a little somersault of joy when I saw the email. Thank you for sharing you heart. It’s so true that the Light and Love never leave, they’re ever present.

  5. Jana – so glad to see your words here again. Know that you and yours have been in my thoughts and prayers. I’m happy that you found your gang.

  6. So thrilled to see you back again. I’ve missed you. “The Light has never extinguished. Love was always present.” Thank you for that reminder. Love you!

  7. “Creation always soothes my soul, even when it’s a field of scorched grass in west Texas, but the dunes and the falls did more than soothe – they patched up a tiny part of my heart.” This is beautiful. I feel the same way about Colorado. It is healing and hopeful. Glad you’re writing again.

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