Hello friends and thank you so much for the love and encouragement you guys showed after yesterday’s post. Your comments here and on Facebook and in email all helped me feel very normal and not alone in the brackish water of life. We do all swim in a wonderful mix of good and bad. And you helped me want to write again, but more deeply, with more purpose. Thank you.
You may have seen on Instagram later in the day that after that blog post, life served up another curveball. Sort of.
On one hand, it’s another emotional shock. On the other, it’s exactly the kind of thing that tends to happen just before a breakthrough, which I have been feeling was on its way. So, I actively choose to trust God. (What good is it for me only trust Him in easy, happy times? He’s got this, and so do we. We can do more than we think, and we can pray our way through any unknown, believing that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.)
Jocelyn has apparently moved back to Estes Park, or at least is traveling there now, we don’t know. As I told my husband, it hurts because I have already been missing her so much, even as nearby as she had been while living with her paternal grandparents in Oklahoma City. The physical proximity was slightly comforting, but our contact was limited and strained. So I just miss her so much, despite trusting God with her well being.
By contrast, I remember feeling so close to her last September and all those three years leading up to that time. Just beautifully, intimately acquainted and well bonded. As I type this we are just past the three year anniversary of Joc moving to Estes Park for what was supposed to be a six-month YMCA experience. She stayed, obviously, and followed her heart in unpredictable ways. She grew and deepened and found herself, which I celebrated and shared sparingly here and there. We all just felt our way through every curveball, relinquishing control (which is an illusion) and grasping to our relationship instead. I visited her as often as possible and during those weeks we made thousands, millions, of beautiful memories.
In September of last year, Joc was still living in EP, in a new apartment with her two pups and her boyfriend at the time and sometimes another friend. She was working two jobs and loving life, beginning to consider some college classes. She had just celebrated her twenty-second birthday, and I sent her a gift package including homemade granola. Pumpkin-spice with pecans and coconut. She said opening it smelled like home. I felt her love and believed she felt mine. We talked on the phone several times per week and traded notes daily. Whatever was going on behind the scenes, my husband and I were in that blissful ignorance of how everything was about to implode.
Back to yesterday. I cried for a while after hearing the news that she was gone again, but I was not terror-stricken like before. Nor was I, really, all that surprised. Just very sad. She is and will always be my baby, as trite as that sounds. I love her name, her face, her skin, her voice. I love her taste in music, her passions, her athleticism, her sense of humor and her unmatched artistic talent. I love her dogs. (I miss Bridget and Bubbins so much I sobbed through yoga three days ago. Will they remember us?)
And yet, yesterday as we absorbed the news, God was physically in the living room with us. I felt that familiar glowing, insulating sensation He brings every time we grieve hard and deep. I knew He was aware of every detail, including the things we didn’t and might never know. This assurance slowed my breath and just kind of stilled everything.
He loves her even more than I do, and His power and protection reach all the way along the interstate through Kansas, all the way up that mountain, and into every cabin and restaurant, into every complex human condition which might affect her. He has always been with her when I wasn’t, and He always will be.
Life goes on, all around us.
Before hearing that news, Monday was fairly productive. Early in the morning, I did some sewing and ironing of BW’s work shirts. Then I wrote that blog post and did morning chores around the farm, indoors and out. The gardens were happily unharmed by the overnight frost, and I silently congratulated us for having brought the potted plants indoors and for making sure the flower and veggie beds had all been deeply watered and mulched ahead of the cold snap.
I drove to one of my nearby running spots and luxuriated in 8 easy miles on dirt trails, listening to a mix of Oprah’s podcats and Skrillex, then grabbed the few household supplies we needed from Walmart. You know, like clearance Easter chocolate.
And extra white thread!
The sewing projects I mentioned include curtains, aprons, and other kitchen treats for Jessica, now 20 and chipping away at some thrilling goals she has set for herself. She found her first (very tiny and extremely adorable) place and is moving in this week! We are so happy for her, so excited! This chapter of anyone’s life can be one of the most fun and most memorable, and she is on the right track to make it so. I’ll share photos only if and when she grooves it. Just know that she is as bright and beautiful and you can imagine.
Parenting note: I have had to make a conscious effort to limit how often I mention Jocelyn’s first apartment, which you might recall was that perfect, tiny cabin she renovated. Remember the blue kitchen and pegboard storage wall we installed? I understand now how well-meaning parents of adult children might accidentally frame little stories as competition or comparisons. That is never my intention. It’s all just part of my life. Has this happened to anyone else?
Also on Monday, I received the most wonderful surprise in our mailbox. Rachel Forest is a mother, writer, and public speaker who also handcrafts gorgeous leather and beaded jewelry. Exactly my style. She and I met when we were on the same cast for LTYM, and for that, I am so grateful. Her story about redeeming motherhood was powerful. She sent me this gorgeous pair of turquoise earrings, very unexpectedly! And the handwritten note is so beautiful. The timing of her gift was perfect. To hear from a friend I made while sharing my motherhood story, on a difficult day in our ongoing parenting saga, had God written all over it. Thank you, Rachel. xoxoxo I can’t wait to wear these and will pay your kindness forward.
Tuesday should be full. I am headed out now to tackle The Big List, run slightly more miles than yesterday (plus hip strengtheners because it’s helping my feet of all things), and hopefully not get blown away by the wind gusts here. What does your day look like?
Thank you again for your loving words. I hope if we cross your mind for any reason you will consider praying for Joceyn’s safety and happiness, for her to hear God’s voice for everything she craves and needs. And for Jessica, that she continues to find her own footing and know how loved and supported she is at this exciting time.
You have our prayers too, any time you need them.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.”