Something that continues to give me pause is when life simultaneously brings joys and sorrows. Before you start to be overly concerned regarding my well-being, rest assured that all is well in our household. What has been filling my thoughts are the households of friends, near and far, who are going through hardships and have had me in prayer so much of this past week.
There is the joy of last Monday, when Sydney attended her first ballet class. Oh, my goodness me. Sydney in a leotard, tights and slippers is a sight to behold. She was fortunate enough to receive the ballet classes as a gift from her grandparents, Jason's parents. While I had always thought it would be wonderful if she could take lessons, there wasn't even the smallest hope of being able to afford them. Granted, there are inexpensive classes offered through the YMCA, but throw in the cost of all the other necessities (clothing, costumes, recital tickets) and it becomes out of our reach. However, Jason's mom had ballet lessons as a child and wanted the same for Syd. It is marvelous. We have been busy dancing and flitting and twirling all week.
And probably at the same moment as Sydney was dancing across the floor with her new classmates, another family was experiencing a grief greater than any family should have to bear. A ninth-grade student, who Jason had as a seventh-grader, was on her way to school Monday morning when the car she was riding in had an accident. She was thrown from the car and suffered traumatic head injuries; the parents made the heartbreaking choice to take her off life support on Tuesday. Jason didn't make it to Alma's funeral but several of his co-workers did. My heart is heavy for Alma's family and friends, and so I am in prayer for their great loss.
There is the joy of last Wednesday, when the three of us girls got to spend a wonderful afternoon with Rachel and Sawyer. I am not always a good one for making new friends (the old insecurities never fail to pop up!), but I am so thankful that I ignored those unfounded fears of "what if they don't like me?" and have had opportunities to hang out with Rachel. She is a fountain of positive energy, I tell you what! And the fact that Sawyer and Sydney get along so well (including their penchant for racing through the house) warms my heart. Sawyer even bestowed upon Sydney her former ballet slippers that she had outgrown, and those have been constant fixtures on Syd's feet ever since. Ah, what fun!
Wednesday brought another joy into the world, one a million times greater than even the most perfect play-date. Wednesday brought us Logan McNally. He was born to my friend Kristan, whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for a couple years now through my MOPS group. For unanticipated reasons, however, Logan's arrival via c-section did not go as planned. As a result, Logan got very sick and after a few days had to be transported to Portland due to internal bleeding. He is still there, and has a long road to recovery. (My friend Leslie is keeping us all updated on Logan's story.) It is not the beginning anyone expected of his life, and I have been praying that God would restore him to health.
There is the joy of last Thursday, when I stepped back into the classroom again, finding 35 fresh new faces before me. I can't even tell you how giddy I was, practical breathless with excitement as I went through the syllabus (even my students seemed a bit concerned how giggly I was talking about the splediferousness of speech). It's unnatural for someone to enjoy teaching public speaking this much, I'm sure. But love it I do.
On the other side of the continent, J-L and ccap were enjoying the wonders of having a 20-week ultrasound. Anyone who has experienced a pregnancy ultrasound knows that it is an amazing and incredible experience to see those little toes. The chambers of the heart. The halves of the brain. The tiny fingers as they clasp and unclasp. What you don't expect to see are problems, which is what the ultrasound revealed. Little Jack has a tumor on his back. When I read ccap's post about it, tears filled my eyes. When I read J-L's letter to God, I cried. It doesn't matter that I haven't met either of these two blessed people in real life, their lives have touched mine and so I pray.
There is the joy of Saturday, when I got to spend an evening with my MOPS friends, seeing P.S. I Love You (loved it) and chatting over hot drinks at Starbucks. The joy of today, taking a nap with my girls and then later making a yummy dinner of meatloaf and scalloped potatoes. And another joy? Kristan got to hold her baby Logan for the first time today. Sweet joy.
Of course, it is much easier for me to continue with the day-to-day than any of these families whose lives have intersected with grief this week. But I know what it is like to feel sorrow, to lose, to grieve, to wish with all your heart that a moment could be redone with a different outcome.
There's joy. There's sorrow.
And thankfully, there's prayer.