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on bravery, honesty, and the thestral staring me down on the playground

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yesterday I did something I almost never do. I volunteered to speak to a crowd of people.

I'm not shy, not even a little. But I am not a public speaker. Some people use nervous energy to propel them forward and excel on stage, but not me. I stand there, dry-mouthed and stuttering, forgetting my point and doing my best to just make it stop. All the same, yesterday I offered to tell a story to a group of women I've grown to love, a local moms group I joined in January. Because yesterday was the first time words have bubbled to the surface, and a language for the story I need to tell began to take shape.

The theme for the group this year is bravery. The call is to step up, to do something you wouldn't normally do for the sake of being true to who you are. As I listened to another mom share her "brave" story, mine suddenly crystallized. All at once, I knew the bravest thing I did this year was to tell the truth.

After my baby nearly died, I wanted to feel overwhelming joy and gratitude that he was okay. I wanted to praise God publicly, to look at my son's face and feel soul-bursting happiness and contentment, knowing I get to have more time with him. We got to walk away from that day with our son healthy and whole. Most of the time, that doesn't happen. I witnessed a resurrection, and I wanted to be able to revel in it.

Instead, I felt fear.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm back.

I hadn't planned on leaving, but as we all know, not all of life can be shared with the wide wide world on a screen. I had to take some time to live life before I could write about it. But there are things I want to tell you - like the time I went swimming with my kids and did not care, even a little bit, about being in a bathing suit. Or that time I took four kids out of state alone - and actually had fun. I want to tell you what I learned from the Holy Week liturgy this year, and how healing happens so slowly, and even the things you think should be easy never are. I want to share some new friends I've made along the way. So I'm coming back.

I hope you are well, too. I've missed you guys. It's good to see you again.

on the less-than-perfect childhood

Thursday, January 22, 2015

click here to find photo credit (and a recipe for oatmeal)
He's standing on the kitchen counter.

I look over and see the familiar leather school shoes against the cuff of jeans that aren't quite too short. Balanced between a peanut butter jar and a loaf of bread, his head is in the spice cabinet, and he's searching for ... what? Everything he could need is already on the counter. Oatmeal bubbles on the stove, and I'm working fast. Nobody wants pasty oatmeal. I reach for nuts, vanilla, and cinnamon while removing the boiling pot from the heat. Kids are swarming around, lunch and breakfast prep are both underway, and he's standing on the kitchen counter.

"See?" I said, and I heard my own note of irritation. "You ask to help me in the kitchen, and then you get in here and mess around. That's frustrating."

walking in the dark

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Yesterday marked six months. Six months since I saw my son's life pull away from us like a wave, then wash back two minutes later. Six months since I realized children can just ... die. You can give them the very best of who you are, you can feed them fruits and vegetables and curtail their media and make sure they go to bed on time, and still they can wander away and just die. As my friend said so eloquently, my life stood on a razor's edge that day. No matter what happens - and we had the best possible outcome - you can never go back.

I'm on Huffington Post today!

I'm over at Huffington Post, sharing an open letter to Millenials. You probably hate open letters, right? Usually they aren't my style either. But this one is different. I'm not poking fun, and I'm not ranting. I'm sharing why we need Millenials to do exactly what they are doing.

"I'm a Gen-Xer, and the media once disparaged my generation too. We were the latch key kids, the ones who raised ourselves while our mothers climbed the corporate ladder for the first time. I grew up in public schools back when children were still left behind, and I remember reading the articles (in print, of course) despairing how my generation would ever be educated enough to lead. They were wrong about us, too. I see you, and I remember what it felt like to be 23. To be convinced if I loved hard enough, worked long enough, hoped big enough, I too could change the world."

You can read more here.

on living Advent

Saturday, December 20, 2014

image by Baz Ratner
This week I called an old friend - the kind of friend you talk to twice a year, but with whom you share your secrets. I told her nothing was as it should be, and lately I'm just talking to the ceiling. Advent, she told me. It's the season of waiting, and you're living in it.

It's easy to celebrate waiting in a symbolic way. To remember the young pregnant woman, to reflect on the prophecies of Isaiah, to sit in silence and awe. It's easy to light candles and reflect on their anticipation. Advent in the abstract draws up beauty, wonder, inspiration. It's easy.

Advent in real life isn't quite so serene.

We told our children there was no Santa. They argued with us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Today I'm over at Mamapedia, sharing how my husband and I thought we'd raise children without Santa, but our kids had other ideas. You can read more here.

If you are here from Mamapedia, welcome! You may be interested in my thoughts on refusing to hide, or why I don't want to give my children a faith that scares them (and what I'm doing to prevent it). If you connect with what you see here, you can follow along on Facebook. I'd also love to meet you! You can email me at awidemercy at gmail dot com.
 

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