She was not surprised to find me crying. After 9 years in this house, Rylie Joy knows her mamma cries at commercials and when she’s mad, when she’s hurt and when she’s laughing too hard to breathe. Basically, every day. I cry for world justice and shelter animals every day.
But this was a sad and silent cry- I had just learned that Ry’s friend had lost her dad over spring break. I was overcome with grief for the family’s loss, with anxiety for the sweet children at home, with thanksgiving for the teachers who showed up on a terrible day to stand with their student. For 800 reasons, the tears came.
And so, I explained to Rylie that I was sad for her friend. I asked her if she wanted to talk about it, but she shook her head.
She left to find her shoes but stopped with her hand on the doorknob…
And in her broken prose she said,
And I said, “What, honey? Hard to know your friend is hurting?”
Mom, she said.
And then she left.
If there had been any hope of me collecting myself before that conversation, it was gone now.
My God, my God,
It is hard to know what to do.
And I still do not have the answers.
I do know this: she must see me grieve. My children must see me cry and question and fight and cheer and worship in every kind of circumstance. I do not want them to be afraid of being unsure, of being sad, of being small in such a big, broken world.
One day they will come up against that shadowy world without me, and I do not want them to be surprised. I want them learn and practice and know that there is life on the other side. I want them to understand that THIS, this hard-to-know place, THIS is where it gets real. Only in this place can they see the necessity of the Gospel.
If we could right every wrong, if we could heal every wound, if we could explain every mystery… we would have no use for Christ. But we cannot.
There are actually things we cannot fix, and it is a terrible realization.
I will not accept an education from the news or video games or fairytales. No, they will learn about heartbreak and salvation from me. They will learn that the process is messy and inconsistent and wild and dumb. But they will see a real person live a real life, and they will know it is possible to trust God even when we have no idea what he is doing.
Let them apprentice grief by walking through it with me, in the safety of a transparent village.
Let them meet an unexplainable, unforgivable wrong…
Let them stand in the fury of a heart they have willfully hurt…
and let the process be familiar because they saw me do it, too.
And it was hard and beautiful and too, too long.
But it was possible.