Over the weekend, I had an unexpectedly severe flare-up of pain related to the chain of surgeries I had following my miscarriage years ago.
It's amazing how that pain can take me right back to the raw grief of losing our baby Jordan. It's like scent... how certain smells will put you right back in your grandmother's kitchen on Christmas morning.
I was in terrible pain Friday night and was unable to rest until about 4 in the morning. I got up Saturday, desiring to go to church with my family.
I was emotional, as I always am when I've been in that level of pain -- that pain that flashes me back to the reason for the surgeries. The pain that represents sweet beginnings and possibility scraped out, leaving years of physical and emotional complications.
Our daughter Hannah is an old soul. She is a compassionate girl who has grown up with a Mama who struggles with pain. It hasn't always been something I can hide from her and she has consistently handled my rough patches and my heart with a tenderness that astonishes adults.
This is the girl that told me when I was in the dark spaces of mourning Jordan, "Grief is like when you get something in your eye, and you have to cry and cry to get it out." She was 4 years old.
This is the girl that curled up next to me when the pain literally dropped me to the floor and smoothed my hair while saying, "Medicine takes a long time to kick in, sweetheart, but it will kick in." She was not yet in Kindergarten.
Saturday morning, I hugged her, apologizing for my tears as I explained to her, "Mommy had a bad night."
"It's okay, Mom," she told me, hugging me back. "I think God chose the right children to have a pain mama. Me and 'Nally' are okay with it. We're brave enough to have an arthritis kind-and-loving mother."
With tears in my eyes, I tucked away her reassurance and that phrase into the pocket of my heart. Brave enough. And I decided that I could be brave enough too. I took my girls to church, and I smiled through the pain. Not to discount it or try to hide it, but because life is beautiful and life is good. Every day, even the hard, is another chance to love and to form relationship and community with those around us.
Let's be brave enough to do that.
Let's be brave enough to do hard things, and not give up, and rest when we need to, and make memories regardless of our current physical ability, and encourage those around us, and grow. Let's be brave enough to keep on when it would be easier not to, and to believe in the good when good is hard to find.