"We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves." 
James Joyce


Dear Laura Wade,

I really miss you. I miss the you and the us in Ireland. Seeing your faces even briefly last week helped my heart to calm and rest. I miss the Redbreast evenings, the long hikes, Jesus leaving gifts and messages for all of us along the way, the laughter and the pints of draft Bulmers.  My time there with you and Doug and Wes is imprinted in my soul and held in my body. I can still taste Doug’s fish and chips, smell the burning peat moss, feel the wind on my face and the ice pellets on top of Slieve League. I can still smell the horses from atop The Cliffs of Moher and feel their strength and power in my soul. 

And I also needed God’s message from Desi after your God-led pursuit of my heart that night at the pub “Every thing’s going to be all right.” Spoken with the Irish lilt, twice, with his kind, blue eyes steady on mine and my hand in his hand. I needed all of it to prepare me for what awaited me when I came home. 

I came home to much goodness and chaos Both of my girls with their boyfriends were here before we arrived home… preparing food, settling in, talking. Our summer house guest was also with us as well as Madi’s puppy, Ira…. and two dear friends from Grand Rapids eventually joined the crew…

And here’s where the story gets tricky b/c it belongs to all of us and I want to be careful to respect everyone as well as be honest about my own story. What went on after arriving home from Ireland would have taken me out a couple of years ago. What happened after Ireland was gut wrenching and has been difficult to process, let alone write about. I have been silent, because this kind of death is hard to understand, and I have been in mourning.

While people were here I had my first real conversation/conflict in a year with my brother that took every bit of integrity and strength I could muster. Standing separate from him/differentiating and speaking the truth of his harm to me was excruciating. And the dying began… Dying to a way of life with him that I am realizing was based on a false sense of belonging.

The day after the conversation with my brother, I pursued one of my daughters to understand her withdrawal and silence. At my request, the whole family ended up having a much over due and needed conflict that was both difficult and healing for all of us, but especially for this daughter. She needed to find her voice and to be heard, but as a result, I had to hold her complaint against me. I had to hear the harm I had caused by not entering her teenage life. I had to hear her anguish and hold it as well. 

I know well this sin of withholding and have been confronted by friends about it, wrestled it down, seen the effects of the damage to others of my silence and hiding, but there was something about seeing the gut wrenching sobs from my daughter and hearing how my silence has gouged her and kept her from feeling safe with me and in the world just undid me…leveled me to the foot of the cross. 

I so needed the blessing of the horses to remind me God is with me, that I belong, and I will be safe. I so needed the imprint of your face and our experiences together to help me stand upright in the storm that awaited me. I so needed to hear, “Everything is going to be okay.” from God through Desi and that my sin was taken care of at the cross. Thank you for the gift of you and for being willing to listen to God and pursue my heart. Thank you for risking. I am so glad you were born and so thankful for every life experience that has molded you into who you are and who you are becoming. Happy Birthday woman, FFS!

With Affection,