More people I talk to than not these days tell me of how heavily life weighs on them. People are working so hard, in many cases, just to survive. When they aren’t working hard to survive financially, they’re working hard to keep their kids focused and in the right place at the right time.
Just this morning, another young mother tells me of a failed job search, one of many in many, many months. It was hard to choke back the tears as she shared her feelings of anxiety, mixed with her stubborn faith and positive, hopeful spirit that God will provide. She really, truly believes that.
Thinking of her determination to get up and put her face into the wind of one more job search this morning, and so many like her carrying back-breaking loads of responsibility, I was reminded of words a friend once sent me by an author of whom I’ve never heard. Why these kinds of words arrive when they do is mysterious. Their timing is almost, as we sometimes say, “spooky,” as in, Holy “ghost-like.” See what you think about what Ellen Bass writes in Mules of Love:
To love life,
to love it even when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air,
heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms,
a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say,
yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
Loving life, it would seem, means loving the life that comes to us, not always waiting until life is more lovable.