Community is Sacred and Safe.

Lately I am in a funk. That holiday funk that kind of clouds the awesome. I know it is part of all of this, this lacking joy. I am trying to embrace it, though lots of people would love to fix it. It really is part of this… to feel out the sad and hard. I feel like not doing that work is not acknowledging her missing from these moments. She is missing. Madeline should be slightly awkward, but catching up to her body parts. She should be BEGGING me for a phone. I bet she would be helping her Elizabeth with her chickens and loving up on her cows. She would be starting her sassy independence, the start of tweenhood. She would start talking about boys in a way that they weren’t teammates and friends. She would start having really bold ideas and opinions as to what her time should look like. She would be pissed that I refuse to get her a phone, let alone an IPhone 6… she would hate that I still pinched her butt cheeks and nibbled her cheeks before a playdate. She would hate that I would cringe and complain every time she asked to step in Justice (seriously people that place is like sparkle puke and clothes that melt in my dryer)… I am sure she would tell me by now that I was a terrible and rotten, no good mom and I was not one ounce of cool… and we would be starting the part that girls tell their moms “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE?!?!?!” (and she may be right because I wore Tweety tee’s and married my second ever kiss and am still a little naive).

She is missing. Madeline is gone. I miss not having a 9 ½ year old… she could have at least prepped me for Amelia and her differences… she kisses One Direction pictures. We sit around our tree and watch movies, I try to stay awake. I try to love it all and be there… but sometimes it freaking hurts. There is no filling her spot, some parts of this are just bringing the empty along. I watch Hallmark movies and I think of our story and I cry. I cry when people’s lives in movies work and when they don’t. I think of those kids that we all gather around and sing to, that we gift early Christmas seasons to… that we all support and I cry. If you know me then you know cryin’ Erin is not common. I don’t know why, behind my eyes and in my heart and brain there are cries, I just think they don’t come out like everyone else’s. I have a tendency to gain energy and positive from people and environments around me, so I can refocus my sad and feel it differently. I think weekends like this are a product of not always letting it out when I am in that moment. It was a heavy weekend.

In these weekends and days I tend to try to pull from what I know. Books, traditions and busy… the things I know will get my girls and I through. Lately I have been reading a great book For the Love Fighting for Grace (Jen Hatmaker). This is one of those honest and bold books that you read a chapter or two and then reflect. I read and reread. I feel connected to her and like she gets it all. She writes real and true and honest. Her faith is exactly how I feel and know God, she reminds me that He loves me always and anyway.

Soo… in this amazing book with so much knowledge and funny there is a whole chapter about the thing that I think is most important. It is the reason I am ok, mostly. This important thing is the thing that saved our family when Madeline was sick and passed. It is the huge cornerstone that God put right in the hard stuff to keep us grounded. It is where I go and what I do when I don’t know what to do- It is community. It sound so freakin’ grown up and professional. It isn’t. It is the meals that save us. It is the time with friends that cleanses our brain and heart. Community is the safe and surrounded we feel when were in a space with builders. It is what God made to build us and love Him. Community is the gift He sent to save us in those moments when nothing felt good, normal, ok, comfortable or safe.

grace 1

In the book I am reading she talks about the altar and community, ‘front porch church’… it is true. My closest moments to God are not in church, most of the time. They are in these moments of surrounded and safe and sharing, these community church moments- when we look at our homes as sacred and full of God. This weekend these moments of community, of squishing people around my almost broken table (I NEED a new dining room table) to literally break bread (it was focaccia and shaped funny I didn’t know how to cut it)… to laugh and share and feel together. I love cooking for people, it is the best way to join people together, with food. I love working on a meal and then talking around the table forever after, it makes the dishes so worth it. I needed that this weekend. My favorite running partner was coming for dinner, so invited a friend whose kids were with their dad, then my friend Rick came… all ended up free at 5:30. It was perfect and meant to be. I roasted a buncha’ roots and bought rotisserie chickens, BAM some salad and lucy’s corn choice and dinner was done (and focaccia bread to break). We all gathered and ate and laughed and told stories and asked advice. I needed that bit of community. I felt lonely and separate. I felt the missing and lacking, the difference. I miss having that normal family (though I like not dealing with a lot of it), I wish I have family closer to squish around my broken table. I miss that. I grew up seeing my family stop in for coffee or lunch all day at my Grandma’s. She welcomed all, I wish sometimes I had more to welcome. I am thankful for the bit of community He sent my way last night. I miss cooking big dinners and having people over. Community is a food for the soul, a gift in the hard… a lightener of the heavy. I need to resort to community more for my builder…

grace 2

I want to share the quote from the book. If you need a book get this one, if you need a gift it is rockin’ good… it is up there on some list and I love it. Read this passage, it is important. I am grateful for these words on this paper… for this reminder and bit of clarity about what community does in this world.

So check out this book, make this Christmas season matter and when you are feeling lonely look to your community, make some food and enjoy some friendship. When you are feeling blah, buy someone else a coffee or some Christmas gifts. For me, I will lean toward what I know… and when I am down I will seek my light and support… I am up I will gift that to others.

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