See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. ~ Isaiah 43:8
I was sitting at a table, laptop open, poetry books, hot tea, notebook, and pen spread before me, when I saw it, a vibrant dot of light playing at my feet. Half a lobby away sat my son, laser pointer in hand, chuckling. Minutes later, he’d crossed the lobby, plunked himself in the chair opposite me, and propped up his feet. Obviously staying.
“So, what’s up?” I asked.
“Uh huh,” I laughed, and tried again. “So, tell me what’s going through your mind at this very second?”
“Nothing.” Smirk. “Absolutely nothing. If my thoughts were water, my whole mind would be a desert.”
I laughed. So did he. But he didn’t move. So I waited. Watching. And the words came. The fear.
“I have big trust issues with God,” he said.
“When did it break?” I asked. “The trust?”
“I don’t know.”
“When you got sick?” I asked. “Or before?”
Tears slipped unwanted down his cheeks and he rubbed them away. Silent. He didn’t have to answer. I knew. He’s been here for awhile in this necessary place, wrestling with God, grieving what was, afraid of what is.
“I don’t think about the future,” he said some minutes later.
“Ever?” I asked.
“Because I can’t see myself there.”
And then came the truth.
“I don’t think I’ll make it there.”
It’s hard, this space between diagnoses and trying one more medication, test, procedure, surgery, hoping one more time that things will change, that he’ll get well, heal, feel good again.
My son’s situation is different from mine, but our journeys so similar. Diagnoses, months of treatment, tests, medications, procedures, and doctors by the dozens. And somewhere along this rocky, twisting, unwanted rollercoaster ride comes a hill, a place of wrestling — with God, with self, with letting go of what was, and learning to embrace what is.
I’ve stood on that hill. Been where he is, looking back at all that’s lost, changed, ahead toward a life of pain and limitations, and I? I resigned. Crawled straight into the lap of loss and lay.
A few months later, a friend asked me to describe, in words, my heart. My fingers tentatively reached for the keys, reluctant to wrestle words from the gray, yet one-by-one they formed and fell to the page, truth in a torrent of tears.
I had resigned. Given up. Lost hope. I was afraid to go on and unable to go back.
Words blurred as I surrendered, opening my hands and my heart, grieving what was, ready to accept what is. Ready to breathe and live and rejoin the dance.
My son now stands on that hill between resignation and acceptance, wrestling with God and self. Afraid.
But it’s OK. Because spring is almost here, hope watered in tears, ready to push through the grief, through those last few, stubborn, dirt-encrusted banks of winter, and burst into light. He’s ready, this son of mine, to breathe, long and deep of spring.