I think I know now what it feels like to be in a whirlwind. We buried Karis Saturday, May 24th and spent the next week trying to adjust “back to normal life” while packing up our house to move to a different house deeper into the heart of the city of South Bend (and running around with our heads cut off trying to plan ISI Awards night). It’s hard to get back into a routine of “normal” when you are packing up your house to move somewhere else. Somehow Kory went to a conference down in Indy during the midst of that week as well. ISI Awards night was over June 5th and by June 6th we were packed up, moved out and sleeping in our new house on Cushing Street. I don’t even know what happened to us. It all happened too fast. With everything going on with Karis in the month of May, I literally forgot we were moving and don’t think I really realized we were moved until last night when I crawled into bed and realized I was not in our house on Roosevelt Street.
Moving is a big life change and we barely had time to think about it our mind was so clouded with other things. We only have two nights in the house and then Kory & I are headed to Saugatuck, MI for a few days to “getaway.” We will get back Wednesday and then by Saturday we will be headed to Branson, MO for Kory to speak at a summer camp for middle schoolers. I’m not sure when we will actually be living in our new house, but for starters we lived there this weekend so that must count for something.
We are used to living in a whirlwind, I’m just not used to grieving in a whirlwind. It’s definitely made this grief process interesting. Even though this is only our second night in the house tonight, I already find it all so surreal. Did this really just happen? Two major things just shifted in our life. Our family. Our location. Those two things look very different than they did a month ago.
When we moved yesterday I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling. We got a great deal on an old house in an under-resourced neighborhood that we have had our hearts and minds on since the day we moved to Keller Park. It’s a beautiful house. It’s a beautiful neighborhood. It feels like a dream come true. But in the wake of grief, I don’t know how to accept it. That sounds so weird, I know. This sounds even weirder, but it made me feel better. Last night I was getting ready for bed and brushing my teeth. I was staring at the new bathroom, the woodwork, the floor, the walls. And I told my house something. “Yes, you are beautiful and I’m very grateful for you but you won’t fix our pain.” For whatever reason I just had to remind my house that though she was a beauty, tall and strong, she will not fix anything, and she better not try. The physical move to me did not feel like moving a half mile away. I felt like I moved into a different world. I went from pregnant at the Roosevelt House to not pregnant at the Cushing House. It was a weird shift to make.
Whenever a big change comes I like to think of it as unfamiliar territory. I was really excited to explore this unfamiliar territory of a new location a month ago. New people to meet, new relationships to build, new neighbors to get to know, new place, new parks, new roads to walk, new house to make a home, new landscape. I felt like an exhibitioner, ready to discover this new land. But now, with everything that’s happened with Karis, I feel like an injured exhibitioner. The fun of the adventure seems to be taken out, and now it all somehow feels a bit overwhelming to me. I don’t want to meet new people, I don’t want to decorate a new house. I don’t have the energy and desire I once did. I don’t want to feel this way.
In Henri Nowen’s book, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing, he says, “Our choice, then, often revolves around not what has happened or will happen to us, but how we will relate to life’s turns and circumstances. Put it another way: Will I relate to my life resentfully or gratefully?....I can either focus on what I have lost or what I have gained.”
This thought really hit me square in the face. Through all this hardship, I haven’t just lost; I have also gained. I have gained eternal perspective.
I have gained greater trust in the Lord. I have gained a deeper faith. I have gained a walk with Christ that is closer and more intimate. I have gained a greater awareness for the miracles in life. And most of all I have gained a precious daughter in heaven. And this is where my focus has to lie. These are where my thoughts need to rest. In life we can become bitter or we can become better. I want to cultivate a heart that is thankful and grateful.
Thank you Lord for this change in location.
Thank you for the new opportunities that await us.
Thank you for the new neighbors we met yesterday and their sweet girls.
Thank you for this home.
Thank you that for the opportunity we have to host people in this home.
Thank you we get to live in an awesome neighborhood with awesome people.
Thank you for this moment.
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30:11-2
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness, in trial, in pain
There is a faith proved in more worth than gold
So refine Lord through this flame
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall be made
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship