Monday, October 10, 2016

Hold On

On the drive home from Pittsburgh last week as I got the call that my grandpa had passed we were passing through Happy Valley which I still believe is one of the most beautiful drives east of the Mississippi. You could see it storming to one side of the valley and the sun shining on the other side, and you can see where the two met. It really was a spectacular sight. For every dark storm there is a light waiting to break through right beside it. When I arrived at my aunt's house that first day, exhausted from traveling, mourning the loss of a great man, and surviving on eight hours of sleep in the past two days I passed out on her bed under her sign that read, "Don't wait for the storm pass but learn to dance in the rain." As always when I share my struggles I also hear yours, which entrusting me to your own dark moments is a humbling thing as I know how hard it is to admit our weaknesses, our failures, and our struggles. It's so easy to think we're alone; when really in reality we're not.

So to those of you that have trusted me with your recent struggles and those that hold theirs close to their hearts here we all stand somewhere in our own valley with the dark storm of our lives to one side and the light of the brighter days ahead to the other side. We know every dark moment passes. That the storm doesn't stay forever. Whether it's the loss of someone we love, struggles and burdens of our jobs or finances, trying days or months with our teenager or infant, struggles in our relationships, or the battles with ourselves it shall all pass. We will all get through these moments that seem to consume our lives at this very moment in time. Though we're not on top of that hill overlooking Happy Valley where we can see the light ahead that will push that storm away it is there for each us.

As I laid there last night on the floor of my son's bedroom from 1 am to 3 am as I tried to will this child to sleep and prayed to God to give me strength to handle this boy he entrusted into my care, the well of tears gone from too little sleep for too many days on end, I remembered. 

I remembered another little girl that screamed for hours on end in the evenings that no one could handle but me, and I held on. I held on to that baby like we were each other's lifeline to the other side of that dark moment. I remembered the dark days of my marriage when I would cry myself to sleep, wondering what we were doing, where we were going, but I held on. I held on with everything I had because more than anything I believed in the potential of who we could be. I remembered the anxiety that we were going to slip into financial disaster, but I held on and kept pushing forward, knowing we were working hard for better days ahead. I remembered the feelings of dread that would twist my stomach about the work days ahead in that year I faced extreme burnout, unsure how I could make it to the end of the year, much more decades more in the profession I chose for myself but I held on. I remembered the dark days that followed the passing of my uncle, my grandmother, and my other  grandfather but I held on. I held onto the memories and the momentos that reminded me they may not be physically here anymore, but they're around and always in my heart. I remembered the heartache of lost babies I briefly carried but never met, but I held on. I remembered the months of fear for my unborn son, but I held on. I held onto my faith and belief that he would be fine. Now in this moment with you, my son, I will hold on. I will hold on as we make it through these trying days of your infancy.

As I laid there again on his floor, holding his hand through the crib,  just two hours after I spent almost two hours getting him back to sleep I thought of all of us, trapped in that storm of our life at this moment.  So for all of us I say. Hold on. Hold on to our belief in ourself. Dig deep and hold on to our strength that will carry us through. Hold on and find something to dance for in the middle of the storm. We will get through this. We will come out the other side.


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