swimming across lake michigan


we go to the beach.

the waves lap up and back. my son is legs and arms, long and running behind me. my daughters dig in the sand. even in this moment they are growing up.

i thought last night why it made sense that eventually children leave home, but i can’t remember what the reason is this morning.

there are a million rocks on this shore.


i pick one up and lay it on the beach blanket.

sometimes things that you think you’ll never be without, they leave. people, places, beliefs – dearly loved and holy held. sometimes you watch gentle water pull them away.

and you don’t fight it.

i’ve got a strange feeling lately that it’s okay. that it’s good and right. that life is more malleable than i have believed. that much of the digging in of my heels in order to hold on to a moment, a state of mind, is little more than the wild hope that i won’t have to feel.

because feeling, really experiencing the pain that this life washes ashore, is trickier than i thought. and it might be less self-serving than i’ve been told.



one night, i was folding laundry and fighting back tears. i was fighting back memories and words and life that i’ve carefully tucked away in drawers like all the shirts and socks. i couldn’t keep up the fight and i couldn’t handle the remembering.

and then i remembered something else. i remembered the lord.

i remembered that i can talk to jesus.

“what am i suppose to do? here i am again – you haven’t taken this away. what am i suppose to do?”

i said it expecting no answer. i said it believing i’d stumped the only wise god. and i heard this quiet in my spirit.

“feel it.”

the many sermons i’ve heard men preach failed me then and god had another idea.

yes, we’re ruled by our emotions.

yes, we put our feelings up on pedestals.

but right now all i can see is how i’ve refused to the feel the things that have seemed too big, that have seemed like there was no way through. i’ve thought they’d be lake michigan, too deep and too wide.

there’s a song i know. it goes like this:

i’d swim across lake michigan
i’d sell my shoes
i’d give my body to be back again
in the rest of the room –
to be alone with you.

i can’t swim the length of the pain of letting some very real things go.

but jesus already has.

and he walks with me. and he talks with me. and he sits alone with me in this room.

he sits after swimming the distance, to be alone with me, and to let me know he’ll never leave if i’ll let him stay. and i’m crying now because there is a way to the other side of all that leaves and shuts the door behind it.

he is the way.

thankful list ~ one thousand gifts ~ 2078 – 2090

breakfast for dinner
box fans
crying when you need to
flipping in the water
cave boys
friends catching tadpoles
letting a frog go in the creek
aunt eli telling it like it is
sandy, painful wind
all the single ladies
iced tea
fruit flies

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