Sunday, February 5, 2012
My sister signed me up for Words with Friends a few days ago. You would think I’d be decent at it—after all, I love words and I love friends. Nope. I kind of stink.
Last night I was thinking about what my problem is, and it’s the same one I had when trying to play Scrabble as a kid. I get caught up in the words I “almost” have. “Hatchet” – if I just had the final “t.” “Media” but nowhere to place it on the board, “Surfeit,” just without the pesky “u”. I get so enamored with these “almost” words, it makes it hard for me to see what I really can use to make a smart play.
So I end up playing a measly word like “EAT.” Sometimes the game shuffles the letters around for me to jolt my brain with a different perspective and hopefully help me recognize a great word. But that doesn’t seem to help. I hang onto the letters I have, hoping the final letter will appear, because it’s such a great “almost” word, but when it’s my turn to play again, the board has changed, due to my opponent’s move, and I’ve still got nothing.
I think I relate to grief in a similar way. Right now I am caught up in what “almost” was the future for our family. So very, very close, but now with one key element missing. I cling to the way I wanted things to be—stable and good and meaningful, with maybe a bit of pizazz or a triple word score thrown in every now and then, but nothing too dramatic, and certainly not tragic.
The problem is, just as I can’t play a word that is not completely there, will never be completely there, I know I need to function within the family as it IS, not as it could have been. So by functioning, although hurting and half-hearted, I manage to go to work, get dinner on the table and give the impression of giving ½ a shit about what’s going on around me. To me, that’s the equivalent of playing “RAT” or “SET.”And that’s all I’ve got in me right now.
But the hours of daylight are getting longer, and many days I am filled with peace, the peace that passes all understanding, that I know comes from your prayers on our behalf. And when I remember Jack, which is all day, every day, it is with a smile, because that kid brought great joy to us. He was creative, smart, loving, and deep. He made us proud. He made us laugh with his silly quirkiness. With his strong moral code, he made us strive to be better, more faithful people. And now, somehow, he is still doing those things, but on a grander scale, far beyond just our family and our little cul de sac.
And while deep in my heart I wanted to play the words “COMFORTABLE,” “LINEAR”, and “STABLE”, I love this family and I’m guessing someday in the future I’ll be able to play “RESIGNED” , “THRIVING”, and maybe even "BEAUTY" "FROM" "ASHES".