a week of hard. (a long post for a long week)

It’s our SCWC Writeathon week and I’m starting late – but I’m here – because it has just been absolute hell these past several days. I’ve tried to find the pretty words to say it – and they just aren’t to be found.

At the beginning of last week, two young women I’ve known since they were very small lost their father to COVID, just heartbreaking.

(God, I just HATE this – and there will be more about it later this week, separately. It feels like COVID is just getting worse and worse.)

Then, during the night last Tuesday night, I learned that a precious friend and high school teammate passed away very unexpectedly and we are all just shattered by her sudden loss. It is crushing for her dear family and for everyone who loved her.

One of my dear ones who has been suffering greatly with this news is across the ocean and that too is just freaking hard.

My body has reacted violently to this traumatic moment and I have just been so sick since then, and requiring crazy amounts of – disjointed – sleep and working between naps to get my classwork done. My whole body is on fire and I’m seeing some symptoms that I’ve enjoyed NOT thinking about for quite some time.

(With this, my amazing family has been taking the best care of me and I’ve been pushing through.)

Terribly, on Sunday, my precious Mama’s brother also passed away after a fierce battle with cancer. My parents were with him all weekend and were at his side when he died. They have been caring for him for the past year and this is so so hard for them.

All of this grief and loss has been just stunning.

I’ve worked closely with death and with those who are dying and I’m writing at length about it now – but losing someone close suddenly in the midst of other painful losses – and during a year that had already seen so damn much suffering? It takes my breath.

Still, I know – to my core – that God is present through our suffering – and I’ve just had to kind of dig in and hang on and pray and breathe through this past week. It may sound simplistic but what else is there?

Clinging to what we know to be true is what holds us through these awful storms when they come.

Since unfortunately almost everyone I know has been touched by loss recently during this worsening pandemic and there is just so much grief, I thought I would share a few of the things that I have been finding solace in during this time.

This verse is always dear. ❤

Another verse that is close to my heart when the anxieties are running amok:

For God has not given us a spirt of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

I find the scripture that is at the beginning of this post, Psalm 56:8, so comforting as well: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded in each one in Your book.” The thought that our Father cares about each of our tears is just beautiful to me.

A few passages before that, verse three, simply says:

What time I am afraid, I will trust in You. – Psalm 56:3

From the time I was a very small child, we sang that as a song in church preschool nursery. I remember my Grandmother teaching it to me – and I still walk around singing it during hellacious weeks like this. ❤

My favorite Mary Oliver poem always comes to mind as well:

I also lean into the Jesus Prayer, a simple breath prayer, based in the Orthodox tradition. It can be done with prayer beads if you like or without. It is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Many people simply pray, “Lord Jesus Christ” with a slow inhale and then, “have mercy on me” with a slow exhale. I find it to be such a calming and peaceful prayer practice.

Finally, there are two songs, completely different – but bear with me – that have been on my heart in a big way this week.

The first is a Lauren Daigle song called, “I Am Yours.” This song is so dear to me that it is the inspiration for ink I have on my left arm:

my “let the waters rise” piece. ❤

It says:

I see Your fingerprints

The work of Your hands

It’s all in Your hands

I see the evidence 

Leaving nothing to chance

The world’s in Your hands

So, I rest in Your promises

Now, I am sure of this

I’m Yours

Let the waters

I will stand as the oceans roar

Let the Earth shake beneath me

Let the mountains fall

You are God over the storm

And I am Yours

I hear the voice of love

Calling me home

To where I belong

It cripples every fear

And the ones who will kneel 

Will walk away healed

So, I rest in Your promises

Now, I am sure of this

I’m Yours

No power strong enough to separate me from Your love

I’m Yours

So, let the waters rise

I will stand as the oceans roar

Let the Earth shake beneath me 

Let the mountains fall

You are God over the storm

And I am Yours

Even the thunder and the wind obey

At the command of my Father, Father

I set my feet upon Your mighty name

So, let the rain fall harder, harder

So, take my everything, my flesh and my blood

I lay me down on the altar, altar

I am forever covered in Your love

So, let the rain fall. . .

–I Am Yours, Lauren Daigle

It speaks to my heart, especially in these times.

The other song, totally different, and also so close to my heart – was actually part of my Worldview paper that was our final project in my Philosophy class a couple of semesters ago.

It is the Grateful Dead’s Ripple – and, if you don’t know it, written by Robert Hunter, it is closely tied to the 23rd Psalm, which, though we Sunday School kids can say in our sleep, always bears repeating:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me besides still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,

for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord


–Psalm 23 (ESV)

Loving the 23rd Psalm and the Grateful Dead, Ripple also soothes my soul and it has been on repeat as well this week (and even more so because our dear friend who passed away was a huge jam band fan).

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine

And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung

Would you hear my voice come through the music?

Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken

Perhaps they’re better left unsung

I don’t know, don’t really care

Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water

When there is no pebble tossed

Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand, if your cup be empty

If your cup is full, may it be again

Let it be known there is a fountain

That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway

Between the dawn and the dark of night

And if you go, no one may follow

That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water

When there is no pebble tossed

Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow

But if you fall, you fall alone

If you should stand, then who’s to guide you?

If you I knew the way, I would take you home

–Ripple, The Grateful Dead (Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia)

Oh my heart.

So, after this beast of a week, I am picking up with y’all for the rest of our Writeathon – and with some more . . . put together?. . . posts coming. This just needed to be shared first.

It has been A LOT to take in.

But, as always, onward.

Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.

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