Every day is the story of everything else this date has been, but most of them flit past me, and don’t alter my steps. Some days and their stories do.
Dates stay with me. To tell you the truth, I don’t have a great memory, but there are stories I recall with my senses, they stitch themselves to the date like Peter Pan’s shadow. I can tell you my worst break up was on June 22nd. The day my Mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer was October 18th. August 4th, I got engaged. July 3rd I told my husband he was going to be father. And on April 13th of my senior year of high school, a classmate utterly surrendered all hope and 220 17+18 year olds had to shove down our raw throats that such a thing is possible. A bright creative kind gregarious person had left the building forever.
Thirty-four years ago, 16, and 5. Present tense.
What’s hurting about this day?
I write the date and it all comes back.
Things the date carries in
Sometimes the things that are carried in with the date make me feel proud, and those things I keep close like an heirloom handkerchief. April is full of them.
There was this time a few April’s ago that I was the race director for a 5k fundraiser, and the date registration “went live” was rare and sparkly. I celebrated the anniversary of it last week by texting cheers to my friend Michelle, who co-led the event, and we remembered together being nervous for hours – happy-nervous. But most of the time the tap that comes with the date is a soft acceptance that I’ve come so far. That’s goodness. The day you learned to pump on the swings by yourself kind of goodness.
On another April day, I have a memory attached to a song. Dave had asked me to listen to something on his iPod but my journal says I was super crabby about it. I must have had an excellent reason for being a pill that day, but it was such a great song, he said, and I needed to hear it, he said. And I wrote of resisting.
It was hard to listen and not get softened, but I managed. It wasn’t until I heard it voluntarily that I fell for it.
Moments later, Love Has Come (and my patient husband ) had flipped me around, God had extracted worship from my fussing lips, and I was glad. Glad to be wrong, and glad to have my resistance resisted.
April 13th, 2016 has had its own story. It’s own mercies. New mercies arrive every 1,440 minutes according to Lamentations 3: 23. I try to drink them up. Every day has just enough.
I love how Jesus personifies the day, as if it’s eccentric, when he says,
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
I can just see the day fluttering it’s hands in the air, saying , “I’ve got enough trouble! Now, shoo!”
The day even has the power to disclose our deeds, or bring to light the things we do, both right and wrong, according to 1 Corinthians 3:13 . So it seems that the day actually matters.
I always thought so.
I wonder if the day ever wishes itself over. April 4th carries that power for me. It always taps my heart tenderly about the final breaths, chicken soup with the family, and hyperventilating on the couch that night, the night I wouldn’t go to bed because April 5th would be a day without my mother in it, so I didn’t want to miss any part of April 4th. But even that day had only as much agony as that day could hold. Not one drop more. Sixteen years have filled me up with libraries of stories of love and power, fierce and radiant, so this year, the day didn’t steal my breath away. I had plenty of air for the day.
Essentially, this quirky thing that I have with dates irrationally buoys my sense of hope. I know I’m not the only one, many members of my family and some of my friends look at dates and get taps too. Are you like that? Then you know, it goes like this. We look over our shoulder at our stories and speak back to them from today, as the one who survived. And we fight for our hope with our tribe and our God, over time, and wisdom shows up. Love gets decadent. Friendships are fire-tested. Healing happens. It is such a funny thing – you can’t even tell sometimes that it is happening until you come to notice the absence of pain.
What’s this? I move more easily or something that should sting, doesn’t. It is a lovely grace to notice there is less wincing, an ease of ache, because God is healing it…right in front of me, behind my back. But in order for him to slip that quiet healing to me, I have to stop staring at the wound.
Today at least, I did. I wonder what mercy tomorrow will carry.