Saturday, November 12, 2022

Turning 40

I wrote this three months ago but never posted it!  I can't believe I've not written for that long. I will post it anyway, and then write one from today...

Walking home tonight from the children's Bible study in the neighborhood where we first lived as newlyweds 10 years ago, a deluge of memories smacked me upside my unsuspecting heart.  I was with Uncle Dala, a dear friend, who has only been part of our family for two years. Remembering walking with Mariama on my back, meeting young girls that we've watched become young women on a certain corner, greeting elderly women outside their homes where I've eaten celebratory food offered as I passed by, felt like too much to describe to Uncle Dala as we walked home.  I turned 40 on Monday, the 15th of August.  On Tuesday, the 16th we remembered one year when my brother died. I don't know how to reconcile the fullness of life, the richness of all I experience and have experienced living in Nigeria with the abruptness of change and death. 

 Processing loss and grief alongside the joy of living is a very delicate balance.  In movies they like to refer to how the person who has left you on earth would want you to live your life.  There's no doubt that as life sprints forward and you get farther from the memories of those you've loved, that you run differently because of them, but it seems they cannot speak into how you respond to their absence.  To the living, maybe, but not to the grieving, which leaves a gap once again of how to balance these tender moments...

 So, that's as much as I wrote in August, and I'll leave it with that and this picture above.  To say that Josh Watkin knew how to make moments special is an understatement.  He and Amy created this scene year after year!  A tree that shouldn't have fit into the space provided, loaded with memories, a warm fire, and thoughtful gifts.  I'm going home for Christmas, my first without Josh.  Thankfully, none of us are without the beauty that he imparted to us, and we have each person in the family...the holders of memories, laughter, joy, and pioneers to the way forward.

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