Tonight I'm remembering: six years ago today, also a Sunday filled with all the things you would normally expect, death came to us with a wave of chaos. A driver's poor decision in one moment took eight lives: young ones, bright ones, the breath and motion of friends who had changed me. I was plucked from West Africa and the lush screaming green of birth, the holiness of dark bellies stretched with life. Nights spent under stars singing our lungs out to God's rhythms drummed with grateful hands, around a fire (no matter how hot and muggy it already was); very little electricity and not enough water, but friendships flowing with milk and honey, endless conversations about these present moments, difficult and necessary and beautiful. We had no idea there weren't many left.
|with Erin, who was seriously injured, and Bri, who was killed|
And then so quickly I was home in the bed I'd grown up in, nights dreaded as my heart ripped to shreds couldn't shut off the pain, or even quiet it to find refuge. Even sleep was an enemy. It was winter at home. The woods I walked in regularly hid nothing of her own grief, and there were no hints of resurrection looming, for any of us.
Six years later: I write sitting on our couch while my husband sings quietly to his guitar strumming. My eldest baby sleeps, the rain pounds on the skylight, the Christmas tree is lit up behind us, my youngest babe gets comfortable inside and settles down. My own scars are fading in so many ways. But still I remember.
I remember those who suffer: bodies not yet made whole and new, minds damaged in life-altering ways, mothers whose grown babies never said good-bye to them, a woman whose husband would never return to her arms. The grief ebbs and flows, but it will always be present; for some it laps at their ankles now and then, others gasp for air daily.
It's a mystery to me - how the waves can roar and crash and destroy so quickly; how we do survive it's aftermath, even when we wish we didn't; how God Herself comes to us in our bleeding and unconcious hopeless state - with mercy, with comfort, with healing. Bellies grow again and new life comes to us. The earth has not been abandoned.
One day God will make His home with us, even here.
Until then, we wait. We run fingers across scars, confess our love more freely, stay put in moments for a little bit longer, and keep our ears pressed to the pulse of the Promise.
Every tear, He will wipe from our faces.
The sea of chaos will be no more.