I am looking ahead at our week, surveying its possibilities and excited for the prospect of no doctor visits. One week, just to live life together and savor the new Thomas and the quiet hum of our daily routine. Each week, since school began, has brought its share of interruptions and unexpected appointments. This week – nothing – except for the usual suspects of school, lessons, laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc… The new/old Thomas is here. He is asking for food routinely, running around with friends, complaining a fair amount – always a good sign of life, and attacking his school work with zest. The last few weeks have definitely brought their share of adjustment for all of us as we move back into something a little more predictable. Sibling squabbles and short nerves seem to be a symptom of finding a new equilibrium. Thomas is fitting back into the chore routine and life of the household and his presence as the big brother is once again being felt. So, there are adjustments and upheaval and a sense of trying to fit into a sweater that is now a little tight.
I find for myself that same sense of outgrowing the old sweater, needing something new to put on. All the things I love and that bring life have, for the most part, sat dormant the last nine months. Practicing the piano, except for music at church, has been nonexistent since January. Cooking, something I love, has turned into a very utilitarian exercise through the past nine months. Surviving doesn’t leave much room for anything else. Now in the absence of survival- mode these old joys are resurfacing again, bringing fulfillment in their pursuit but also the feeling of ineptness and lack of growth. It’s the feeling one gets going through one’s closet, pulling everything out, and still not finding anything that really fits. We are all feeling the rub of ill-fitting clothes and wishing for the perfect outfit. I know we will find it; it takes time. Just as there was no rushing treatment or grief, this can’t be rushed either. We must walk through it, knowing we will find a new equilibrium and new patterns of relating and being together.
As I was sitting in church today praying, I realized the curse of self-sufficiency was creeping back into my heart, the illusory idea that I really can control most things in my life. I realized I was returning to the under-lying assumption that most things were within my capabilities to handle. Cancer helpfully destroyed that illusion. In the times of grief and pain, I knew with absolute clarity very little was in my control and I was in desperate need of God’s presence. I came with hands opened and needy and a heart empty of pretension. How easy it is, after a few weeks of normality, to return to the same illusion of control. Frightening. But, grace is found in remembering. I can remember and know the truth. I know my need and in my need I can return and let go of the illusion I hold so tightly, for it is only an illusion. I know the comfort found in opening my hands, so I opened them as I sat in church today and turned again. Always the turning, always the letting go.
Growth. We are all experiencing it here at the Maedas, literally and figuratively and as much as I would like to stand still and stop, keep that old sweater I love so well, it is a principle of life in Christ. Always.