That was the view from my hospital room, where I was for 3 weeks this month last year. Everyday I looked out this window, wishing I could see the other side instead of being stuck in the middle of the buildings. It added to my feeling isolated from the world…and you would think in this day and age it’s hard to feel isolated with all our social media, articles, reality TV and so on…but I think that adds to the isolation. Soon I learned to stay off Facebook and IG….everyone was busy going places, checking off summer bucket lists, vacationing, making Saturday morning pancakes, meeting friends for coffee and wine tastings…going about life. And I couldn’t see the other side.
Summer is my absolute favorite season. I enjoy pretty much everything about it: heat, sunshine, the water activities, outdoor festivals, friends and families casually hanging out in yards and parks just doing life together. I like the long days and warm nights. Now that we live in the Midwest I can look forward to fireflies and storms. Summer has my heart….and last summer…it passed me by. I sat in my room and I couldn’t see the other side. My kids woke up everyone morning for weeks, and I wasn’t there to greet them. We didn’t go to splash parks, ice cream shops, or the library. And I couldn’t see the other side.
I tried my best to occupy my time with things I enjoyed: reading, journaling, blogging, browsing Pinterest…I even took up adult coloring books…which I had previously judged as a “time suck”, now I was doing it just to keep my hands and mind busy. I watched Downton from start to finish. I caught up on seasons on Project Runway I had missed. And then for the last week or so…I did…nothing. I slept mostly. I was sick of that window. I was sick of missing out. It was hard to see the value of that hospital stay while I was in the middle of it. I couldn’t see the other side.
I think we all have those times in our lives. We feel stuck. We don’t know how long the feelings will last and we don’t know when or if we will see the other side of the stuck stage. We feel as if life is passing us by…and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You’re missing important things, learning nothing, feeling stale and you see no progress.
But then one day, you make it to the other side. They might be slow gradual steps, or it might be a giant leap and then you reach it…but you get there. You look around and realize you did grow during the staleness. You did learn a thing or two about yourself, about your family, and about the faithfulness of Jesus. It doesn’t mean that this is the final time you’ll ever feel you can’t see the other side…but you made it over this one and by His grace He gives us those moments as if He says “See? I’ve got this. I’ve got you. I am victorious and I’m rooting for you.”
I’ve been thinking a lot back to those hospital days lately. In those days I think I pushed my feelings aside and just put my head down and dealt with it without trying to feel. Now that I’m on the other side, I see the value in that time…not just medically but spiritually. It also gives me an incredible amount of gratitude for this summer. We made a summer bucket list, partly to help us get out and do things together…but partly for me too. I missed out on moments last year and man, it was tough. But this year, I want to be intentional about living life with my family. I can look back over the past year and see how far the Lord brought us. Ohio wasn’t an easy place for our family to be either. And we tried hard to make it home to us…and it wasn’t anyones fault that it never felt like home. Ohio will always hold a special place in our hearts. We made some wonderful friends that will be in our lives for years to come and we miss them…but as hard as we tried to plug in it seemed the Lord kept cutting our connections. We prayed that the Lord would bring us community and abundant life there,… or take us to where He wanted us to be…and here we are in Kansas City. Is our life still crazy and loud and more disorganized than I want it to be? Yep. Is it an easy ride? Nope. But we are plugged into a downtown church where we are finding our community. We are trying to reach out to the people in our neighborhood and make friends with anyone who doesn’t look terrified of us 😉 We continue to lean on the Lord for strength while thanking Him for bringing us to the other side.
We are still deep in the season of “littles” and one day we will look up and realize we are on the other side of that…but for right now, I’m thanking God for allowing me to look back for a moment and I breathe a little sigh and a prayer of praise to God for bringing us here. When I think back to this time last year…I don’t so much mind the loud and the crazy. Perspective is a funny thing isn’t it? 🙂
Are you in the middle of not being able to see the other side? Friend, I grieve with you, no matter how small or big the hurt is. (I used to think being stuck in a hospital for 3 weeks wouldn’t or couldn’t really have much effect on anyone…but it does.) I could give you platitudes and say things like “you’ll make it!” or “keep your chin up!” or “learn to dance in the rain!”…but the truth is, only the Lord can bring us through these times. And I’m not one for platitudes anyways. So please be encouraged…the Lord sees the other side and He tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world. I want to follow the One who has overcome the world…because if He did that…He can help me overcome anything! But if you are in the midst of the stuck…I would be honored to pray for you. Shoot me an email, add a comment…and would love to pray for you!
And now excuse me while I go and soak up every bit of summer that I can.
Grace & peace,