I stand before the dishwasher unloading, steam still rising from the clean dishes, when she sneaks up beside me. Wrapped in her worn little baby blanket, my golden haired pixie reaches to unload the plastic cups and bowls from the top row as the song switches on my Spotify playlist. She begins to sing along, and her voice fills the kitchen as she turns to put the dishes away. We will feast in the house of Zion. We will sing with our hearts restored. He has done great things we will say together. We will feast and weep no more. She sings, and I pause. Tears fill my eyes so quickly that I can’t tell a fork from a spoon. The wound I sometimes think is healing just a little rips open wide again, raw and piercingly painful.
In that moment, I stand not in my kitchen but in a church 3,000 miles away. I am singing as though my life depends on it. Because I am undone. Because I am trapped alive in my most terrible nightmare. Because in that moment I know no other thing to do. As I sing, my words frantically claw and scramble toward a truth I’ve claimed as gospel for my whole life. We are not consumed by the flood. Upheld, protected, gathered up. I stammer words of belief into the darkness. I must believe these things. I see no other way to survive.
She turns to see me standing there looking out the window, warm utensils still in my hands. And her question brings me back. “That’s the song we sang at Daddy’s funeral. Are you okay, Mommy?” I turn away, blink back tears, concentrate on finding a precise home for each fork and spoon in the drawer. My voice breaks as I whisper, “I know.” In a moment, I realize I’ve forgotten to answer her question. But she’s begun chattering about something else, and the moment is gone.
Her brother lures her away with promises of play, and I am left standing again alone in the kitchen, dishes still waiting to be put away. I look down at my hands and wonder how I’ve made it this far. How have I endured this deeply cutting sorrow and still kept moving every day? I wonder if it’s really all true. If these promises I’ve clawed for and clung to will continue to hold me fast. I wonder how long. How long will my heart be crushed with this sorrow? How long until redemption? How long until your promises are fulfilled, O Lord? I look up at my reflection in the dark window. I am still that woman, standing in that church, weeping and worshipping, doubting and believing. I am still desperately praying and claiming this truth. We will feast and weep no more. I know no other way to survive.