Well, kids. I’m not going to lie. I had a rough weekend. I was actually doing fine and thought that I could do two things that I hadn’t done regularly since my dad died – go running and go to church. I ran once two or three weeks ago, and it was pretty awful. I made it down the block, but barely. And I hadn’t tried again. Finally, this weekend, I thought I would not only go running, but I would start my routine back. Great idea, right? It’s been six weeks since Dad died. It’s time.
One of the songs on my playlist is Carrie Underwood singing, “How Great Thou Art.” Not the greatest song to hear when you’re mourning the loss of a loved one. While it was playing, I had the most clear memory of sitting in church with my dad. And it dawned on me that my dad loved to go to church with me and my sister. When we would come home to visit, he would always sit in between us and at random points during the service, he’d squeeze our hands or put his arm around our shoulders. As a parent now, I understand that. You feel closer to your kids when you feel closer to God. (Or maybe you feel closer to God when you feel closer to your kids?) Anyway, for the first time since he passed I remembered the FEELING of my Dad loving me so much, and that caught me so off-guard that I had to stop running in the middle of my run and I cried all the way home.
The next morning was Sunday and I got up and thought that maybe it was time for me to go back to church. Maybe it would feel good to be in the place with the memory of my dad. Chris had to take care of some things, so he wasn’t able to go with me. But I wasn’t worried. Other than my breakdown on my run, I had been doing pretty good. Surely I could make it through a church service.
I dropped the kids in the nursery and at Sunday School and headed into the family life center where the contemporary service is held. I sat down and the first praise song came on and so did my tears. And for the first time in my whole life, I picked up my things and walked out of a church service. There was just no way I could sit through it. But my kids still had an hour in their classes, so I walked into the sanctuary, which was empty since everyone was in the family life center. So, I sat in the empty church and cried for about 20 minutes. Then I prayed for a while. And then I just sat in the stillness, something I haven’t done since Dad’s passing. And as sad as that might seem, it was actually very therapeutic and healing. I spent the entire hour of “church” in my own private church service, and I decided that if I needed to sit in a big, empty church for the next couple of Sundays until going to church isn’t so raw for me, then that’s okay.
By the time I got home from church, I was emotionally exhausted. 24 hours of total sadness is heavy to carry and it makes you want to take a big, fat nap for a couple days. But instead, Chris had the brilliant idea that he was going to wash our cars and that it might be good for the whole family to come sit out in the front yard for a while. I’m so glad he was right. Hanging out with the kids, laughing with Chris, and soaking up the very end of summer was just what my heart needed.
So, you know, some days are sunnier than others. But that’s true if you’re grieving or if it’s just a random Tuesday. What can ya do? You just hunker down through the harder days and soak up the sunshine on the better ones.