Vague Isn't an Option
Tonight I was privileged to celebrate my beautiful, brilliant friend Cathy who recently graduated with her Masters in English and Creative Writing. The celebration dinner was held at a lovely outdoor restaurant called The Farmhouse in the middle of Roger’s Gardens, a local garden center. I am quite certain the marinated grilled vegetable salad and the mustard seed cheese were delivered to our table directly from God. Somehow the cheese board landed beside my plate and never managed to move down the table.
I enjoyed chatting with the ladies seated near me, and I successfully remained vague when they asked about my kids. When they asked their ages, I rattled them off as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I am absolutely not opposed to talking about Chandler, even with people I’ve just met, but I do try to consider the context in deciding what to share. In this context, I did not want to bring a negative vibe to my friend’s celebration. So I decided just to list their ages and leave it at that. No harm, no foul.
Then someone else sitting beside me asked, “So what do each of your kids do?” Remaining vague wasn’t an option. I thought for a split second about saying that Chandler is a biker and loves to do anything that defies gravity. I knew that would just come out weird. He may very well be biking and defying gravity at this moment. But not on this planet. And I think that’s what she was asking about. What do your kids on this planet do? I couldn’t use the past tense — “Chandler was a biker and loved to defy gravity.” Her follow-up question would have been, “Was?”
So I started with Chase, then moved on to Chance, giving some general sense of what they’re each doing. Then I took a breath and said calmly, “My youngest son died January 1. And my daughter, about to turn 18, is a senior in high school.” That part between Chance and Charli, that should not be among the descriptions of what your kids are doing. It just shouldn’t.
Driving home, I missed a turn on my GPS…yes, WITH my GPS on, I still missed a turn. Don’t ask. It’s a gift. So I ended up on Crown Valley Parkway, the main road to the hospital Chandler was in. As I got closer to the hospital. I said audibly, “I hate this hospital. I hate this road.” I began to feel afraid — what is it going to be like in December if I have to drive by this hospital? I don’t want to relive this nightmare in my mind.
I pulled my thoughts back to the moment and tried to be fully present behind the wheel. Fully present. Still feeling pain. But trying not to borrow worry from tomorrow.
I know that whatever comes, I am in the hands of a good, loving, present God who just keeps showing up. In the Farmhouse and on Crown Valley Parkway.