What I've wanted to do desperately all week is just lie in bed for the entire day and cry. And there is a time, early on when grief is fresh, that one must do that. It is necessary, and it is healthy. Then there's a time, like now, two years down the road of grief, that one simply can't give in to sorrow at every incessant wave. There comes a time when one has to take courage, fight the current and stay afloat and stand firm. There is a time when the demands of daily routine once again take precedence. It has to be this way. There is no going forward without the courage to move forward. Courage doesn't negate fear. It doesn't gloss over it and proclaim, "I'm not afraid." Courage, instead, says, "I'm afraid, but I'm going forward anyway."
I've had to do exactly that this week as the first week of college commenced. I tried not to cry Sunday evening as David prepared for his first day the next morning. I was sending him off to college. Only he wasn't mine, really. I've just been incredibly, astoundingly blessed. Blessed by another mother who willingly gave up her son, sending him to a foreign country, to a family they didn't know. Blessed to have gained another son, not by birth, but by heart. Such unspeakable joy and grief, the epitome of bittersweet.
After David left the next morning, I struggled to keep my thoughts in check. I had wandered into his bedroom and took note that his belongings were gone. It made me think of Matt and I didn't want to go to thoughts of, "What if?" and "If only I was sending Matt off to college." I had bucked the waves of grief a few months ago as David and I registered him for college, so I knew that if had made it through that, I could make it through this. Missing two sons, in completely different ways, feels like balance-walking a train track.
This joy and grief thing is also a fine line to walk. More and more lately, I have felt like I'm caught living life in the middle. Much like the apostle Paul, I know that "If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." (Phillipians 1:22-24) The days and moments I miss my oldest are excruciating, yet when I hear my younger children's laughter coming from the other room, I am torn. I am living in the middle.
Living in the middle feels isolated and lonely, but I have hope! All week the words to Natalie Grant's song, "Hurricane" keep coming back to me: "He'll find you in the hurricane." Though I may be living in the middle, I am deeply comforted in knowing that He is here with me. Right in the middle.