I am not okay with this. It knots up my stomach and fear whispers heartbreak into my listening ear. Fear of the future. Fear for my children. Fear for my children's children. Something isn't right here. It's dark and sad and grief-stricken.
But then, in spite of all that's dark and dangerous, I look around and see the beauty and light.
I see my children running through the grove of mesquite trees at Zephyr, with burning sunlight streaming through the branches. I hear their laughter. I witness their wonder. I peek at my husband while he works and see his brow furrow in concentration. I lock eyes with him and blush at the twinkle behind his smile. His eyes are the kindest (and often most tired) I have ever known. And I continue to discover grace abounding within their depths.
I see my parents working hard for our family. My dad always giving. My mom always listening and encouraging. My brother doing what he can in his own bit of the world. Hardworking, giving souls. It isn't easy being in separate cities. It's good to be together when we can. The laughter and the teasing and the merriment is beautiful. Family is beautiful. With all it's imperfections.
I witness my community fighting to spread the light. They walk daily amidst trial and hardships, yet they push forward, brandishing swords of truth and goodness and beauty. From the Carolinas to Nashville and across the mighty mountains to the western ocean, there are light-bearers that I love and learn from. They are bits of my tribe. My dear kinsmen. It is a great honor to know them and call them friend.
My grief is not hidden to God. He knows how I lay awake at night weeping for the ones I love. The pain I feel when we experience the mysterious ache that is loss and grief. The physical nausea that comes when a new headline is splashed across my vision bearing tidings of despair and sorrow.
And yet I feel such an overwhelming thankfulness. This hope fills my being with the courage that comes only by the delicate placing of my fears into the hand of an everlasting God of comfort.
Thankfulness overflows when I glance up in prayer and my breath is caught in my throat at the sight of the stars flung across the inky sky. Or the sun bursting forth in joyful newness each morning. The stack of old books that litter the crooks and crannies of a home filled with a love of learning.
Hands clasped across the cab of a little white truck.
Dolphins leaping for joy with diamonds glinting off their backs.
Trees bent from the winds, story-lined and old and wise.
Babies and the new sounds they make; the coos, the cries, the sighs.
Sunflower fields waving.
Mountains grinning, strong and true and glorious.
Used bookstores filled with old, forgotten tales.
Walking barefoot across soft, lush grass.
Rose petals blushing.
The darkness is terrible. But the light is so good. And where there is light, how can we abide the darkness? We cannot. It is pushed away. It doesn't slink away in shame, it flees in fear. In fear of the light and those who bear it.
So this Thanksgiving (and every day) I tip my head to the heavens above and praise God for new mercies everyday.
"All praises to the One who made it all and finds it beautiful." -Gungor
(Watch the Andrew Peterson video in the above post--he conveys my own heart on Thanksgiving so much more eloquently than I ever could.)