Thursday, January 1, 2015

Just Lean Right In

On the original Nintendo Entertainment System there were two buttons on the front of the two-toned gray console. On the far left was the power button that you had to push all the way in until it clicked into place. To the very right of that button was the reset button. This little rectangular button, with it's capitalized letters spelling a promised "RESET" were there for the player to push if you just wanted to start over. Had the game not started out as you intended? Did you miss the chance to gain the extra life along the way? All you had to do was ever so slightly, place some pressure on that right reset button and you were granted a new game, a chance to start all over. This button never stayed in place or locked into position like the power button, yet instead it was always facing outward, allowing the players easy access to begin again.

Today marks the first of the New Year and as Nate and I drove up the winding mountain rode to my parent's house last night I felt a heaviness for this New Year's Eve. The messages that so commonly surround this time of year are ones where we reflect on the blessings and the bests of the last 365 days. Most people highlight their accomplishments, the events and gifts that made their hearts swell, and make mention how while there may have been a few bumps in the road they feel taller or stronger, filled or fuller than they did when it all began. When they look up and onward to the new year ahead it's common for wishes of uneventful years of little drama, extra sleep, to stay out of harms way, and even for happiness, health, wealth, and dreams desired. It's almost as if on December 31st, they do their last load of laundry and tie up any loose ends for the year, neatly fold it, place it in a perfectly stacked shoe box of sorts, print out their most memorable moments, place them in their picture album and with their black sharpie label them 2014.  Without a second thought they lift them overhead onto the shelf, and just easily transition into another sparkling New Year's Eve.

I knew as I made the journey to my parent's last night that when I arrived they would be in the middle of hosting a lively New Year's party. There would be laughter, friends, food, and a warm environment that my parent's home is known for. But both Nate and I felt that this New Year's Eve wasn't bringing with it any magic. As the guests of my parent's party made their way home much before midnight and my parents told us goodnight, Nate and I made our way to bed. Just after we had brushed our teeth and were climbing into the sheets the ball was about to drop and we could here the countdown quietly escalating in the other room. Together we quietly tiptoed out to the living room to see the glowing television signal in the brand new year. Times Square was filled with exciting screams, cannons of confetti filled the air, smiles spread across the faces of celebrities and commoners alike as everyone embraced in hugs and kisses and amid the laughter, faintly in the background was the familiar tune of, "Auld Lang Sine."

I stood frozen in my loose pajamas, still swollen from surgery, aware of my physical discomfort and the heaviness of my hurting heart. As I watched confetti blow in the cold midnight sky and stared onto a stage where glasses clanked and toasted to a new year and a new beginning, I felt trapped. Because while champagne is being poured and toasts are being made there are others out there that aren't so  swiftly moving into the new year, who can't just glide into 2015. It's not possible for all of us to fold it all so neatly like a blanket and place it up high and out of reach. Sometimes page 365 isn't the end of the story, the last page where everything so neatly ends, even if that's our greatest wish. We can't always close the book and place it up on the shelf. Sometimes those pages run together, the ink may smear from one page to the next, and the pain we are in gets carried with us as we pass the stroke of midnight.
It would be nice if when each New Year hit we all could hit that right reset button on our Nintendo systems of life.  And then magically we'd get to start a new. Perhaps we'd be out of debt, or maybe the cancer would be gone, or the house would be organized and clean, or you'd no longer be longing for the son you lost a year or two ago. What if when the clock strikes twelve it would be somewhat of a reverse Cinderella syndrome for all of us, where you're no longer grieving for the person you miss more than words can explain or you'd suddenly have a desire to get out of bed every morning. 
This year for us, the new year didn't mean too many things. While I knew another calendar would need to hang on the wall, Nate and I knew that the ground beneath us would not somehow raise up where it so recently fell from. I knew that come January 1st, my broken heart would not find wholeness and that the shattered dreams we have been laying among would not suddenly disappear. With this new year I would not magically stop mourning the loss of my womanhood, my ability to carry my babies and my tired and aching body would not just find itself physically mended in every way. Unfortunately, there is no way to just press reset on the real pain Nate and I feel as we journey through this pain and anguish that physically aches and has emotionally whipped through our world like a hurricane. 
While we know God will not leave us here forever we are aware that we must work through the hard parts of our stories in order for a rebirth of our joy. As much as a reset button would be ideal it's just not natural. 
We don't stop grieving at the push of a button or the stroke of a clock. Pain doesn't magically disappear. And while some people can easily compartmentalize year by year there are times when our hearts will bleed from one year into the next and there's no way around it. 
This year there was no magic at midnight. And when I look back on 2014, while it was a beautiful year of love for two of the people I love most in this world, for Nate and I it was a year of incredible grief, mourning, sadness, and pain. When I look into 2015 I am too far stuck in the raw intense pain of our recent physical pain and broken hearts to see a light in the distance. So for now, I think we will just lean forward.  We won't reach for the reset button because we know that's just not possible this year. We know it's silly to imagine waking up and this all being gone. It's too late to lean back and drag our heels, we are too far in the middle. Standing up on our own won't simply cut it or get us through. And as much as my heart longs to look back and grasp at what might have been, I'm becoming ever aware if only by the heavy sobs I find when I realize what I wanted will never be, looking backward is not my best bet. I'm finding as hard as it is to move forward or to sometimes just keep going, today we can work on a heavy lean. A long time time ago I wrote in my bible that I would lean into God. I think this year He knows I can't put all of 2014 neatly on a shelf and He also knows I can't carry it with me. He knows I'm stuck and I'm in pain and while I have no glass of champagne raised to toast to the new year I'm promising to lean in. To Him. To the fact that He's still here in my brokenness, and that He somehow is catching us when the ground floor fell out from underneath us. He sees the pieces of my heart laying all around and I'm leaning into Him. He's whispering that there's no hurry, that I don't have to rush. No stroke of midnight means it all has to be better. No pressure to Push Reset. He just reached out His arm and told us to lean right in.

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