The rosy sky this morning tells nothing of the rain that fell in sheets for most of yesterday, but as my boy and I run—we dodge the memory in puddles. He wants to try to run a little farther today, so we turn into the park. There’s a 5k race going on and we find a place near the finish line to watch. He sees some friends and leaves me sitting on the bench, alone. I watch my boy congratulate his friends on a good run and there are people in colorful running shoes walking it out all around me. They’re playing loud music to encourage the runners, but I’m playing last night over and over in my head.
They’re the kind of friends we see at weddings—he was in ours—and the older we get, the fewer weddings there are so we haven’t seen them in years. And when you sit around a table and break bread with old friends, time has this way of winding backwards. We sat out on the deck after dinner, enjoying a break from the rain and cool rinsed through the air. And when the sky started dripping again, I just wound up the patio umbrella and we all leaned in tighter around that table.
I’m watching my son goof with his friends but I’m thinking about time and how much we’ve changed since I first met those smiling faces we welcomed into our home last night. And I wonder what change looks like on a face? Isn’t it more than lines and sunspots? Part of me wishes a heart could be worn on a chain around the neck because I want this world to see how God has grown me with love over these years. This desire tells me that I have so much more growing to do and I tuck it deep inside and whisper to the One who knows me that I’m glad I am seen.
Trusting this—that I am seen—it’s something I couldn’t do back then. It’s something I still struggle through. This morning in my reading Henri Nouwen tells me to “go into the place of your pain”. This place, he says, “is the experience of not receiving what you most need. It is the place of emptiness where you feel sharply the absence of the love you most desire.”
We start our run back home and he can’t make it all the way. So we take it in turns to run and walk and I run up ahead and circle back to him repeatedly. We are out for an hour and a half all together and I can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday morning. I’m proud of him for trying.
But when I run ahead I’m alone with my thoughts and I ask God what it is that I think I most need. What is creating this gaping hole inside of me where love should be? He opens a window into my heart and I part the curtains and what I see fills me with wonder at His wisdom.
I go into the place of my pain.
And I see what I think I need is not what I need at all.
“You have to begin to trust that your experience of emptiness is not the final experience, that beyond it is a place where you are being held in love…”
This place where I am held is a sweet place and as I loop back around to fetch my boy I wonder—why can’t I seem to stay here?
But soon, I am walking side-by-side with my boy and I don’t have to think about love because it lives and breathes between us.
And I’m lost in the joy of this journey.
Sitting with Sandy today. Love to you all.