“The Holiday that could become All of our Days”

I am going to be out of town for Thanksgiving, but wanted to share this beautiful reflection for these days from Ann Voskamp:

The woman I meet up on the concourse, she tells me she was done.

Done with the man and the ring and the vows, done with the kids, done with her life.

Her eyes are so large and fragile, hands trembling, the way your world can quake and break and the aftershocks rattle you and the stunned retelling. I touch her shoulder.

And she crumbles in and heaves, and heaves that counting blessings made her see blessings and she’s staying and staying alive and barren places can break with bloom.

I memorize her face and glory.

We are the broken and the bruised and the messed up and the unmasked, women meeting at a conference, women of faith, and turning quiet to pull up sleeves and show scars.

A woman murmurs at my ear over the din that her brother in law ran over his 13 month old daughter, and we don’t have to say anything, and hands find each other and lace and this world is right busted and tied up with the strings of His broken and offered heart.

And a gravelly voice speaks of cancer and a grave and a child whose name she wears around her neck, and we finger that name together and fiercely believe in a Father who knows and holds and cups like relief, like a lung, when we can’t breathe.

And the story of a stroke and a mother and depression that pinned to a bed and the dark that suffocated for decades and the pen that wrote His gifts, that opened the veil to His light.

And I tuck a lock of hair behind the ear, and listen to unlockings and how women are finding keys.

And then she stepped close, a woman who couldn’t lift her head, who hid her eyes, and she says it timid near my shoulder.

“I had six children when I sinned.” And I turn, wrap an arm around her shoulder, draw her in.

I had an affair…” Her words snag and tear and I hold on to her as she starts to give way. “I got pregnant. And I couldn’t handle what I had done.”

I try to swallow, all my sins stuck and lodged and burning there in my throat. Oh, sister. The sobs wrack and we are two women caught in the act of living and sinning.

“And the day I was going for the abortion, a friend gave me this.” She nods her head towards that book with the nest on the cover.

“She gave it to me — and said what I couldn’t handle was actually a gift.” And I can hardly take this, have to look away, take my shoes off, tear my coat, beat my chest.

“And I read and I agreed with God and he is.”

And there on the screen of her phone –  she offers this picture of a smiling baby boy.

And I reach out and hold his smile and it is holy and it is epiphany and it is hard –

What you think you can’t handle — might actually be God handing you a gift.

You can read the rest here.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, full of true gratefulness for all the gifts in your life.

“I lost my tooth. The Lord has blessed me.”

That’s how Ann Voskamp’s daughter announced it to her:

When she’s in from the barn, she slams that back door, her hair dripping like she drowned in that shower that doused her curls and the smell of hogs, and she comes grinning and looking for me, holding out her hand.

She announces it like a heralding:

I lost my tooth. The Lord has blessed me.

In the east, the sun burns away the mist and I come to.

The Lord has blessed me.

How does she do that? How does she fill her gaping with celebrating and who sees blessing in loss and how can you just hold on to some peace and sanity and your half of the quilt even in nightmares?

You can read the rest here: “How to Handle Losses”