Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nothing like Chipotle

I think about it a lot.  The bittersweet.

And I'm not talking about the saccharin kind; a movie or a book tying up everything
perfectly in the end and you feeling manipulated for having cried or angry for having watched.  Anything Jane Austen maybe the exception.

But the truest form.  Of bittersweet.
I experienced yesterday.

Hear me in that it has been a hard season - almost a year - my back stabbing with pain and sidelining me for months.  Procedures and therapy and now maybe even the surgery unsuccessful.  A day falling hard.  Hope diminished.  Disappearing even. The view from my window moving swiftly from winter-lingering beauty to stark reality and me catching my breath.  Unable to accept more disappointment.  Unable to understand the whys.  Wanting my life back. 

And I knew then and I know now others have worse. But for me, right now, it is taking my breath.  For the pain and the fear that it will never go away.

In the anguish, the dishevel, the bitter - not the sweet, a friend offers to bring over lunch.  And I caution loudly; probably not a good time.  For her that is.  But she is resolute and simply undeterred by my warnings of ugly.

Showing up shortly with a large brown paper bag brimming with Chipotle and throwing arms around me.   An incredibly sweet moment.  And then the food and the telling and the listening beginning to unfold those edges of despair lurking within.

Yes.  Sweet.

Oh, she would deny and find funny that of being sweetness.  To my bitter.

But she does the hard stuff.  Listening to the pain yelping; coming out sideways and backwards and confused.  But understanding.  It's just pain talking.  Helping to push me through to find healing in the connection and in the grace.  Helping me upright, regain perspective and birthing me back into hope.

Because life is often bitter.  Sometimes these experiences, the hard times, are later described as a gift.  But not today.  Not when the wound is deep and angry and healing seems far away. 

Isn't that what all good stories are made of?  The bittersweet? 

The telling of a protagonist having to overcome conflict.  Struggle always part of story.  And we relate and are inspired.  The reason stories are life changing. Helping us know how to live.

But when it hits us.  In real time.  The story looks different.

The bitter making us stronger but almost needing a narrator to get us out of our own story to see the picture better.  And our story good too.  Just not finished yet.  And that adversity - the bittersweet of life teaching if we allow. Within community.

Community.  A recurring theme for me.  The search for and the sacrifice required worth helping another through adversity.  Connection healing me.

This is why I scribble grace.  Because I know the answer in this life. 

But sometimes I can't find it.

Lives often so fractured when close friends and family move away.  And though their story and adventure is to be celebrated and embraced, those left behind must find a new normal.  A new friend.  A new community.  Those things taking time and commitment and transparency within grace.

In order to be known in the ugly and in the real.  And loved anyway.

I thought later.  How is it that someone can show up and see my messy and not be afraid of me?  That I am too much or not enough.  All at the same time.

It is a challenge.  A discipline even.  To come alongside someone else in their hurt. Or to be vulnerable within our own story. To embrace the bittersweet; those things in life we cannot control.  Things we would rather not have to endure.  But things that usually make us stronger.  And relationships deeper as a result.

Because when your heart is really broken - facing a death of any kind.  Someone is needed to stand beside us, carry us if only for a moment, and help us remember there is a sweetness to life even within the bitter.

Celebrating the bittersweet and deep friendship and grace that sees us through.

To hope again.  On the hard days.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Deborah! I am doing better. Sharing life to encourage another.
      Thanks for stopping by!