The cold air tumbles across the kitchen floor. It reaches my bare feet and I think that she should close that door, but I won’t say it. Farewell moments require pause. And as she stands there in the open doorway looking back at me, I don’t care if some heat spills out and the cold rolls in and my toes complain wishing I had remembered to put on some socks.
As the door closes and she steps into the next four months away from home, I make my way to the window. She heads to the car and turns to look at me. And I love that she knows just where to look, just where I’ll be. I accept the comfort of knowing that she knows I’m for her, always.
She waves a last good bye, blows a kiss, and tears flow down my face. My lungs expand and I steady myself with a deliberate exhale. New beginnings and new years hold promise, hold hope, but they also hold challenges and struggles. Today it’s the mountains that we see and I plead for grace for my sweet girl, plead for grace for me, plead again for us all.
Powerful prayers are often simple, often direct and raw and honest. So, I say out loud, “I need something, something real from you right now.”
The sun still rests so I decide I should too. I crawl back into bed and open my bible. My eyes take in words and my heart receives truth.
“For he shall not often reflect on the days of his life;
because God occupies him with
the joy of his heart.”
Ecclesiastes 5:20 WEB
These words carry a peace that settles the fear of the unknown challenges these days ahead may hold. I feel held in the reminder that God longs for me to be so pre-occupied with joy, the joy he gives, that there is no room left for me to be distracted with worry about the days of my life.
The comfort seeps in deep as I accept that my girl’s heart also holds a joy that can sustain her, that can make her mountains small, that can hold her when we are apart. How assuring to know that what I wish for her, God has already granted. And this love, this occupation with joy, is a gift and the antidote for the anxiety that longs to fill our days.
My toes are still icicles under my sheets, but my heart is settled. I share this verse with my one on her journey into the new. Her heart settles too. When we become overwhelmed by what the days of our lives hold, we will choose to shift our focus inward to the gift of joy placed in our hearts. Instead of becoming distracted by the outward struggles, we will be occupied by our inward joy. And my cry for something real is satisfied by joy, a real something that will sustain us in this new beginning, in the new unknown year, in each day of our lives.