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Letters to Taylor: On Holy Days
My dear Taylor,
I have typed your name and now I sit here watching it blur as the tears fill my eyes. I look up to see five more blurry names on the chore chart. My blessings in the form of babies, only they are far beyond infancy. The youngest baby is now 8 years old and their ages span to a senior in high school this year. Each child is unique in their needs and design. I am grateful to God every day for His gifts. These children keep your mama going; they prevent my mind from wandering to places it shouldn’t go. They arrest me with purpose and determination. Even in the deepest valleys of sorrow, there is so much to be thankful for.
Several weeks have passed since we experienced our first holiday season without you. Words cannot adequately express the pain intertwined in the beautiful, holy moments of celebrating Jesus’ birth. When the sobs could not be held back any longer, their escape was freeing. I am learning not to feel shame in crying, but it’s been a long learn.
Your absence does not go without notice. Just yesterday, the piano tuner came in the house as he has so many times over the last two decades. He stood in the entry way for a minute after taking off his shoes and declared simply, “It’s quiet.”
His words expressed what I feel each day after Daddy has gone to work and the children leave for school and I’m home alone. Even after a year of you being in heaven, it still just feels… really quiet. And empty.
While I’ve grown to savor the calm and treat it with reverence and respect, it’s a strange daily phenomenon. For many, many years, I craved quiet. That’s how I recharge. But it’s so quiet at times, it’s deafening. The noise in my head is tempted to rule over the quiet and without the Lord, I have no idea how I would ever tame the mental storms that stem from watching you slowly suffer and then losing you to heaven.
It is in this quietness that I am searching and praying for God to reveal His plan for daily living. A lady at the fall conference I spoke at said to me, “You never doubted your purpose, did you?” She was speaking in reference to my care for you, your siblings, and Daddy every day. And she’s right; I always knew that my primary function was to care for the people God placed in my path beginning with our family. For years, our family alone consumed almost all my time and energy.
A year has passed and I am beginning to see through the fog of losing you, only there doesn’t seem to be deep purpose in the buckets of time spent between 8:30am and 2:45pm. Oh, I’m definitely feeling spoiled in the new house and counting my blessings like crazy. But dishes and laundry and cleaning can be completed at any time and so these hours of flexibility must be filled with sacred work. I’m still contemplating exactly what that sacred work looks like and praying for God to guide me to open doors. I’m asking Him for clarity and focus. No, I’m begging.
The deep pain of walking through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and both Michael’s and Tristina’s birthdays without you in this two-month span has been a strong reminder. Holidays are considered the “holy days.” On earth, we celebrate and honor certain days of the year that serve as reminders to slow down, be grateful, be in awe of our Savior’s birth, welcome the beginning of a new year, and appreciate growth. Birthdays are family celebrations. The holidays are special indeed and cause us to reflect on previous years and blessings. That’s why the longing to see you and hold you again is so overwhelming. But the reminder of the holiday season for me this year is that while holidays are special celebrations, each day we live is a holy day. An opportunity to draw nearer in relationship to God and others.
You were missed during the holidays, but I miss you more even now. How I wish for a day of hearing you laugh and seeing you smile. A day of watching you run and clap your hands. A day filled with chasing you out of the pantry or pushing your stroller to the park for a bit. Even a day of sitting by your side, watching Food Network and caring for you. An “everyday” day is what I’d love if I could have just one more day with you.
And that thought snaps me back into the real world I am still living in. The one where I have the opportunity to live another “everyday” day- a holy day. So I’ll hush.
I wish you could tell me what holidays are like in heaven.
Until we celebrate together again,
All my love,