Some prayers take a long time to answer. When I was 18 and couldn’t cry, I would beg God, please, please, just let me cry. Ache. Stare. Nothing. Seriously. I’m broken. Let me cry. Mostly, nothing. He must have been saying, “just a minute,” and I couldn’t hear it. At 42, I cry for reasons including but not limited to:
* School is not out yet. I cannot take another note about anything and I cannot pack another lunch.
* It’s the last day of school and I realize they will never be in that grade again. It’s gone forever. They’re growing up and they can’t go back.
* Someone else’s child I’ve never met just made a great play on the soccer field and everyone is high fiving them.
* My husband is late coming home from work and I worry something has happened to him.
* I startle a few seconds into watery eyes over husband’s demise to realize I’ve started making a checklist as to how we will manage. The guilt of starting a list before you know, the funeral, or an actual death, well it doesn’t feel so good.
* Girl two tells me she wants her hair like mine.
* I hear Boy one pick up her sister and call her pretty princess.
* Boy two says thank you to someone without me prompting.
* Girl one helps with dishes because she says she likes to be with me.
* I read about old age, childhood, loneliness, hunger, rejection, abandonment, joy, accomplishment, triumph, victory.
* I have no ideas. Life is flat.
* I have a new idea. Life is bursting with possibility.
* We weren’t able to have more children.
* There is too much laundry. It won’t go away and there are like a hundred years left until they’re old enough to leave home.
* One of the children is crying.
* The children are laughing so hard they are peeing their pants and I’m just so happy that they’re happy.
* I need quiet and I can’t get it.
* Everybody is distracted by other things and not into talking.
It’s getting downright mortifying the things that can flood the ducts and well up the throat. I think I can confirm not only God’s compassion but a wicked sense of humor as well.