Roller Coaster Ride

I’m sure you know the feeling.

Maybe yours was a big event like surgery.  You knew it had to be done.  You knew in the long run that it would probably be best.  But you knew that you didn’t know what it would take to get you from here to there.  And you really didn’t know exactly what life would look like on the other side.  But, you still had to walk it out.

Have you given birth?  That experience is similar in emotion. In those end days, you wonder how you’re going to make it through labor and delivery.  You know that you want the end product – that sweet child … flesh and blood …. bone and marrow … spirit and breath  – but you’re apprehensive about the process of getting that tiny one from inside to outside the womb.

It may be the memory of an accident.  You can still remember the moment that you realized you were in trouble.  Everything began to move in slow motion.  You felt the movement of your body being propelled out of control …  and you knew there was nothing you could do to change the actions that had been set in motion.  You were along for the ride and could not truly change what was happening.

This chain of events, emotionally, is the way I have felt this past week…..
knowing that today is the day that everything changes.
The experience is that of feeling like you are completely out of control.
Today, we hit the wall.

I want to let go.
I want to free fall into His pool of mercy.
I want to walk – feeling blindfolded – holding His hand … one step at a time
but knowing that I’m safe and protected.

But, this isn’t how I feel.

I feel like I am ready to go under the knife…
in the last hours before the pushing…
or getting ready for impact as the other vehicle careens out of control in my direction
… in  s l o w motion.

Today is the first day of our new quarter. Today, my home will stand an empty shell.
Today, with great excitement, my oldest will begin his second year in school.
Today, my oldest daughter, will begin her college career.
Today, I will begin the most difficult quarter schedule.
Today …. I will leave home before Joy and I will return home after Joy.

It has been my desire that the last memory Joy has of home is that of my hands resting upon yours as I pray God’s gracious blessings and direction upon her day. That will end today.  I will certainly still pray for her, but it will be before I leave …. long before her teeth are brushed or she dons her helmet to ride down the sidewalk to our neighborhood elementary school.

Today, Joy will walk up the driveway, climb onto her bicycle and ride down the sidewalk without me watching her out the bay window.  I will not be here to hear her ring the bell on her handlebar two times and glance over her shoulder to flash me her smile as she rides away.  I will not be here.

It has been hard so far.

I tell you with tears in my eyes: today it will be harder.

Webster states that the Archaic definition of rape as
“the act of seizing and carrying off by force.”
I feel as though I have had my motherly privileges
and that of being a wife
raped from my being.
These activities were seized and carried off by force.
I am left bare and empty. My purpose has been stripped.
I am no longer allowed to raise, nurture and guide my brood
in the way that I feel called.
I have been left by default to play the role of the breadwinner
… the protector … the handyman …. while still wearing the hat
of the caretaker, chef, laundress, concierge, accountant, administrator ….
But … focusing on doing any one of these jobs with excellence
is undermined by pure exhaustion.

Today, I look at the upcoming year and wonder what things will look like on the other side …. once the dust settles and we are walking in the new normal.  How will I make sure that everyone gets to the dentist? How will I feed these bodies that need nourishment when I scarcely have time to plan?  When will I do my own homework when I am taking three art related classes and a math class?  How will I help Joy learn her times tables and have time to talk to her about science, recess and the challenges of life?  I know others have done it before me. I know I will learn. But, right now, I feel lost and bewildered.

Am I the only one that has known this position? No.
Does that make it better, easier, desirable? No.
Does that make the situation healthy for my family? No.
Is there anything I can do to change the situation? No.

Today, I see the roller coaster up close.  I take those last few steps to the buggy.  I lift my foot and place it inside the cart as I  take my seat.  With trembling hands, I strap on my lap belt.  “Hands up,” I hear, as the well-padded shoulder bars come down over my head.  I take a deep breath, whisper a prayer and brace for the ride.

I am not angry. I am not bitter.  Indignation would not serve my family or my Lord.  Resentment would not heal anything.

And so I do what I must.  I take that step.
I place my foot into the cart, because I know that it is what I must do.

But, I tell you:  I am nervous.

2 thoughts on “Roller Coaster Ride

  1. there is nothing i could say to soothe the ache that wracks your heart. nothing i could do would take this away, or make it better or even bring you comfort. but i do want you to know- that God brings you to the front of my heart and mind many times during the day… to pray for you as you try to juggle more balls than you have hands for, more things than you have space for and more thoughts than you have energy for. i pray for clarity. peace. moments of grace that spill into the everyday chaos and cover the connections of your family. i pray that people would step in, and fill those chasms and gaping holes that you cannot. i pray that your heart and body would be strong, energetic, hopeful.
    i’m thankful that God’s mercy is sustaining you through this. that your heart has not shrunken up in cold anger and pity. that you are allowing grief to come without washing you away in it’s power.
    i love you.
    i ache for you.
    i’m amazed by you.
    i’m inspired by you.
    and daily, i’m holding up your arms in prayer….


  2. Karen, I’m only now reading these posts…and my heart continues to weep and break for you and the kids, as I pray for each of you (and yes, for Comedy, although THAT is very hard). I can hardly say anything different from what Heather wrote so eloquently & passionately from her own heart–but you know *my* heart for y’all, & feel what I send in love, prayers, & hugs to the four of you. I pray that God will send His Sonshine to spill over and brighten each day for all of you, in ways that will say to EACH of you, “I’m here with you; you are not alone; I love you; I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.” Whether it’s thru your human friends/Xian family, or whether it’s in some very, very personal way that you KNOW that it’s a God-thing just for you–I know He will do it. I love you very, very much & pray for you *all* every day. And every night. ((((((((((Karen & kids))))))))))


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