It seems this won't be easy no matter how many times I've written the post in my head, no matter how appropriate the feast, no matter how much time passes. There are just some things that won't be easy about this process. This is one of them.
I have wanted more than anything to find a way to send a message to the great cloud of witnesses that have held us in prayer so faithfully that we are here, hanging on, hoping, praying, healing. I did not want any of you who have so sincerely prayed, offeredto think of me curled up in a ball somewhere in despair. I hope my silence did not lead you to think that.
It was not a silence of despair that you found here in these last eight weeks. Eight weeks. That's so hard to believe. At first, it was the silence of a family whose world had stood still, for whom time and place were inadequate, insufficient and surreal. Then it was the silence of a mother summoning all the energy and mental focus she had on healing the heart of her family, trying to keep her shaking knees up long enough to give little mouths and hearts all the nourishment they needed. As the fog of the early weeks lifted, the silence became that of a mother searching out her voice, trying to remember how she used to pray, what she used to talk about, what she taught her kids, and to evaluate what was worth saying in light of the infinite reality in which she now finds herself immersed. And then the silence of a family gone away, retreating to heal, remembering that there is still much to be joyful about on this side of heaven. And then the awkward silence of a writer with so much to say and so few words of worth. And so I start with sigh. And then I sigh again.
What I wanted to share with you most in all these weeks is this. We have endured two months of unutterable sorrow and incomprehensible grief. We hurt, every day. We have known pain, fear, worry, confusion, guilt, doubt, and horror beyond any I could have ever imagined. But we have never once been far from the tender mercy of our God. I have used the phrase over and over again, since I first spoke to Elizabeth in the early hours after Bryce's death--"Tender is His Mercy." There is no way for me to recount the vast majority of those mercies here--they are far too many and far too intimate. But there is one I will share.
In the immediate hours after we lost our dear baby, as we huddled in shock and grief, an army of believers from around the world gathered and prepared itself for battle. Soldiers were set to task, some taking the lead, some handling the communication, some delivering supplies, and some on watch, the constant watch that prayer warriors stand so faithfully. We got snippets of information about the work you all were doing, but an even better testament to the job you did was that we knew very little of it all. We were whisked from one momentous mountain to the next on the wings of grace, and every obstacle had been so carefully moved from our path that we were often not even aware that there had been any in the first place. As I sat near Bryce's burial spot this morning, I prayed for all of those whose efforts made those first incomprehensible days a time of healing, a time of grace, a flood of tender mercy. As much horror as there is the memory of Bryce's death, there is a flood of consolation in the memories of the tender mercies that were poured out to us as we gave him to heaven.
And though most of you found yourselves stationed at your posts far away in those moments, I know you were united to us in prayer. I know because I know the grace that flooded us and I know it was won for us, an abundant, generous supply of grace, that carries me still tonight. And so it could make its way back to you, the Good Lord saw fit to mobilize one sweet soldier to stand by my side, exercising that special gift she has to find the beauty in all things. She snapped away in those two days, documenting for us the healing and hope our faith brings. They are imagesam eternally grateful to have. They are tender mercies. I have wanted to share them with you for a long time, but I have been unsure how. Today, as I sat at that spot for the first time since we buried Bryce, I knew it was time. The soldiers who never made their way to the front lines deserve to see the victory. And so here it is. Here we are. We are today much as you see us here, wounded and broken, and yet full of love, full of life, full of hope--fellow soldiers still engaged in the battle.
While I am grateful to have found my voice andfinally been able to say some of what I have wanted to say, I cannot assure you of what the future will look like here in my little corner of the internet. Most days I find I am still a bit of a stranger to myself. But this blog was always first and foremost about a family. It was a place for me to share the memories I wanted to keep. It was a place for me to think out loud about my life, my God, and my mission--how I was going to get us all to heaven. Those things are important to me now more than ever. Some days you may come here and find me pensive and grieving, I won't be able to help that. Some days, many days, you are likely to find me silent. I hope you will understand. And then there will be those days when you find me much as I once was, teaching math with sweet gnome friends and frosting cupcakes for a feast. I welcome your kind words and encouragement and reminders of prayer, but am hoping you'll send them via the e-mail I've added here. There's no way for me to know what each day will bring and comments seem an all too time-sensitive means to communication. I hope that no matter what you will know that I have come back here because of you--because a grateful heart has beckoned me back, because a world that has confounded me so often with its ambiguity and potential for harm has proven that at the moment of truth, we who seek each other in this world for like-minded conversation and inspiration, are in fact, an army, capable of great things, capable of carrying one of our own, wounded, across the battle field to safety, and then waiting until she finds the strength to speak. Today, I say utter a weak, quivering "thank you" that seems not enough, because you deserve to know that I can.