Friday, August 14, 2009

When Will I Ever Learn?

Two things happened that made yesterday a Perfect Storm of emotional upheaval. The first was that my parents bought a home. While this in and of itself is a good thing, it also means that they are going to be selling my childhood home. It means that the home I spent 40 of my 41 years in is going to belong to someone else. (At least we hope this is the case at some point in the near future. Really. I'm not crossing my fingers when I say that or anything!) And this means some emotional turmoil. Not just for me, but for my parents as well. But you know, I can't blog about what they're feeling. I can only subject you all to the whining about what I'm feeling. There I go again, being a giver! Don't you feel loved?

The other thing that contributed to the Perfect Storm was the uprooting of one of my Joseph plants. I have two houseplants. Two. And both were given to me as gifts in sympathy and remembrance of my son, Joseph. They have lasted 9 years. And then Mary struck.

She had no idea what she was doing. Well, that's probably not totally true. She had to know that she was destroying my plant. But I don't think she had any idea of the plant's significance. In fact, when I was trying to explain the significance to her, through my big gasping hiccups, she said, "Who's Joseph?" Truly, she was bewildered.

And then, after sending her to another part of the house and having a big ol' ugly cry in which my eldest daughter came and rubbed my back and shed a few tears along with me, I was able to pull myself together a little bit.

I had to ask myself. What exactly was it that I was crying about? And after a few moments, it came to me. I was crying about memories. I was crying about memories made in a house that became a home because of the people and the love that resided within its four walls. I was crying about memories that would be shared by some in my family, but not others. I know, for instance, that I will always carry vivid memories of dyeing Easter eggs in my parents' kitchen--first as a girl myself and then watching my children do it. But I know that Mary will probably not have those same memories. And my brother's unborn child will have no memories at all of the home that has housed so many shared events.

And I was crying for memories that I never got to have with my son. I have so very few things to prove his existence--a baby ring, a plaster cast print of his tiny foot, a blueprint of his grave marker. The plant that was torn apart was one tiny thing that helped to prove that he made an indelible mark on this planet and on my heart. Seeing it ripped apart was a new grief. And yet, Mary didn't know the havoc she was wreaking in my already tender heart.

I sat down and explained to her the reason that I was so sad. I told her about her older brother. I explained why the plant was important to me. But I also let her know, that she was important to me. I told her that Joseph was in heaven and it was up to Jesus to take care of him and that I knew Jesus was up to the job. Then I told her that my job was to take care of her. I explained that while sometimes I might be sad because I miss her brother, I was always happy to have her as my little girl--no matter how many things she did wrong or right.

She cried and told me she was sorry she made me sad. I kissed her and told her that I forgave her and I loved her. Then she slipped off of my lap and skipped off to play.

Somewhere deep inside, I know that Mt. Everest is being recreated out of the molehills of my emotions. The logical side of me knows that the move my parents are making is good and right. I know that it's good for them to downsize on their terms and while they still have each other to help make the decisions. I know that it's preferable to have them well and truly ensconced in a home of their choosing before ill health and other ravages of old age set in.

But somewhere deep inside of me, my inner five year old is pitching a lulu of a hissy fit. I don't want things to change! And the 41 year old in me is trying to patiently explain to the 5 year old why all of this change is a good thing and will ultimately be okay. I'm not sure my inner 5 year old is ready to listen....

I keep thinking that I should have learned all these lessons--that God is in control, that our home here on this earth is not permanent, that we were created to long for better and higher things. And yet, I find myself in new situations that keep throwing up the same old questions--"What are you going to do? Who are you going to rely on?"

My brain knows the answer to these questions; "Whatever God asks. I will rely on and trust in Him." These are answers I have known in my head for a very long time. It's like the multiplication tables. It's rote. My brain doesn't need this lesson again.

Unfortunately, it seems that my heart is a slow learner. Apparently I need to learn and relearn this lesson over and over until my heart learns it as well as my head.

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