This time last year I was just entering the second trimester of pregnancy with Hannah Mae. This year, I'm being kept on my toes by my energetic and spunky 7 month old (well, 7 months old on Saturday).
It's crazy- what a year it's been.
Chris has been working non-stop on a research paper for his covenant theology class. And I dare say, it's been kicking his butt. Okay, not really, but I think it's kicking mine. He's been so wrapped up in his paper that I'm having a hard time not feeling neglected.
His paper is important.
Seminary is important and there's nothing wrong with working hard and doing well in school.
All the same, I still miss him and can't wait for Thanksgiving break (he gets 2 days off!). We got into an argument this morning because he wanted to do something tomorrow after his class (the class he's writing the paper for) and I had big plans for the three of us to do something together (grocery shopping and Target!!!!) after he turns in his paper. I was really looking forward to having him back in the present for more than 10 minutes at a time. As I moped around the bedroom, I told him, 'Look around! Life is still happening all around you!'
I would like to tell you that I said it in my sweetest wife voice, but that would be a lie. I yelled. And then I felt bad.
We talked after I cooled off and I hoped we had a better understanding of each other's feelings, but alas, we had another argument after dinner. Good times.
One of the things that Chris' mentor has talked with him about is balance. Seminary is not solely about reading books, gaining knowledge, studying theology and learning to preach. It's about seeing our need for Christ, getting to know the person of Christ more deeply and growing in our relationships, and for us that means growing as a family towards Christ, our center.
We've never been in a situation like this before. I've never had to share Chris with something else so often (besides grief). And I know that this is just the beginning if we are going into full-time ministry after seminary.
I long to find balance during this time. I want to be more gracious with Chris when he needs to hunker down and be enveloped in essays and Word documents and books. I also know I need to remind him (hopefully more gently next time) that life is still happening and we don't want to miss out on it.
Yes, there are papers that need to be written, books waiting to be read, and somewhere in all of this the dishes get washed, the laundry is folded and put away and the toilets are cleaned... this is life. There is a sweet little girl cooing in her exersaucer while I unload the dishwasher, jumping around as I sing the ABCs to her... this is life. And it's happening all around us.
The months and years after Owen died feel like the dead years to me. I could hardly see, let alone feel, the life I was living. I remember sleeping in as late as I could, wishing the hours by until Chris got home from work and then just 'being' with each other. Movies, TV shows on Hulu, or old episodes of the Gilmore Girls. I spent a lot of time killing time. I forgot I was still living.
I don't remember an exact moment where God, in his great mercy, woke me up. But I am thankful. Sometime in the midst of my dead years, I realized I was still living a life. As much as I tried to pretend otherwise, I still had a life and it was happening all around me.
I distinctly remember the first day I felt the wind again. It blew in my face and I could feel its chill. It had a smell, and I couldn't remember the last time I took in the smell of the wind. I rolled the windows all the way down in my car and drove with one arm out of the window, feeling the air flow through my fingers. Then later, I turned on the radio in my house, listened to the rhythm of the music and danced. I felt my body move and my heart pumped faster. I was starting to feel alive again.
My point in this long-winded post is not to paint Chris as an absentee husband or father; he's far from it. Whether it be school work or jobs or grief or our health, we all can focus so much on 'things' and forget that we're alive. I'm not saying that these things aren't important or aren't due their appropriate consideration. I certainly give grief its due, and I think it's important to do that. But there is a balance. A balance I long to learn; a balance I'm sure I'll struggle with until I go Home.
And the struggle? That's life too.