Since arriving in Pittsburgh, I have been in process of transforming our home. First there was paint, and then I trimmed bushes back and pulled dead shrubs and bushes out completely. Slowly, I have been working on transforming the front yard from the set of a horror film to a welcoming environment. As I was hauling the fourth load of bricks from the front yard to their new location, behind the shed (the bricks had been used to outline the former flowerbed…I think the last time flowers were there was Nixon?), I was thanking God I was almost done moving what had to have been fifty bricks. Then, there was that whisper…”It’s a lot easier carrying feathers than bricks, isn’t it?” I would have loved to transport feathers this afternoon! As always, the truth is so much deeper! Just yesterday, I found myself busy with life. Actually, I found myself full of things to do, and surrounded by people who were looking to me to make decisions in an instant. When I got home, Felicity and I got into the pool and just lay there. “I miss mommy.” This is not the first time Felicity has told me this. “Oh, Felicity, I do too. I am sure she is so happy you and I are chilling out in your pool on this warm day, though.” “Yeah, I am a mermaid daddy.” And that is how those conversations typically end!
Eight months…Eight months! Of course I didn’t forget that Jaime was gone. It is a painful reminder when I go to bed and when I wake up…alone. The accumulation of months since her death is honestly not as painful as watching the accumulating days in Fee’s life. I peaked in on her the other night, after she had gone to bed, and couldn’t believe how big she had grown. We sit on the couch together and have conversation (some sensible and some just plain fun!) and I see her growing up. Many, many times, I get that painful lump in my throat and just miss my wife. I miss the other person laughing at Felicity. I miss watching Jaime go toe-to-toe with a sassy toddler…and prevailing. As I plan Fee’s birthday, I miss Jaime’s super-organized way of handling everything. I finally yesterday understood the excitement of receiving an email coupon for party supplies!
As I thought over the idea of bricks or feathers, I got it! I could have carried…well…I could have tried to carry those bricks down the hill to my backyard but it would have been a pain – perhaps literally! Thankfully, my neighbor let me borrow a wheelbarrow and, though still heavy, the pile was moved fairly quickly. At times, these eight months have felt like moving bricks one-by-one. Other times, when I have gone and asked God for help, I still had to move the bricks, but He provided a way to do it. And still other times, when He knew the pain would crush my very being (like the drive home after Jaime was gone, and the days that followed), God took my bricks and gave me feathers. What I love about that thought is that, just like my neighbor, God doesn’t owe me any assistance with transporting the bricks in my life. He, like the neighbor, sees the difficulty ahead and provides a means of working through the challenge. Like anything, it’s a choice for me…and for you. Do we carry the bricks to prove our strength? Do we carry the bricks because the wheelbarrow didn’t come soon enough the last time? Or are we so prideful that we believe we should never have to carry the bricks in the first place. I am nowhere near the end of this bend in the road. However, what I do know is that when there are bricks, God is going to be there to help me either move them or work through them. He made me. He knows me better than I know myself. Most importantly, His love for us is so deep and stretches into eternity. Oh, to be led for a lifetime carrying bricks and feathers!