A Lament for Little Years

I have been avoiding writing this week, this summer, and my soul feels sick, anemic in lack.

My youngest started kindergarten on Wednesday. I read the last words on the last page of this chapter of little years, and have been staring at the blank space beneath ever since. It’s good and right and he shed no tears–and neither did I.

I wanted to. Thought I might. I could feel the crumbling edges, but I braced myself against the torrent. In my pride, in the old ache for safety in self control, I walked into a confusing, emotionally charged situation and I came out numb.

The numb has lasted. I have sought it scrolling, hours of scrolling, endless scrolling, scrolling until my eyes would bleed tears but not feelings. Scrolling that kept me insulated underwater, going through motions dulled and muted by the pressure.

For a dozen years, as of two days ago on the anniversary of the fruit of that first thirty six hours’ labor, two weeks after my twenty first birthday, my world has orbited around at least one of the four bright stars in the Marsden galaxy. Or maybe they are more like my moon, affecting and directing the tides of my life. Either way, I felt the heavens quake and I chose to bury my head in the sand for fear of being consumed by the vacuum of empty space in the empty seats in the rear-view mirror.

I missed it. I know I did. I closed my eyes and grit my teeth and held my breath and covered my ears and now the silence shrieks. Golden afternoons for training wheeled bike rides and playdoh and pretend rend me with their accusations, mixed with my own howling lament. It all ended just as I was finding my way, just as I was learning to open my eyes and arms to it.

Oh God forgive me! Was I faithful with this talent? With these little years now cast at Your feet? I  burn with regret, with this little-year lament.

But I am not consumed.

May faithfulness mark the next chapter, mark me: more heroine less damsel in distress. Not by working harder, faster, longer, stronger, but by increased dependence, confidence, open to experience in the present tense. To walk wounded, grieved and grateful. To take the hand offered me and step off the edge into the New. Father, catch me on eagles’ wings, direct me with great updrafts of Your Spirit.

You heard my three a.m. cries when I flung accusations at You in droopy-eyed still dark hours’ rage. If You are so awesome, so omnipotent, then make this baby sleep! Get on with it and do the impossible already! Don’t You care about me even a little bit in these little years?!

God, You met me in the fire.

Fearful, I fought to not be consumed, struggled to hold on to my dragon-scale armor, even as each scale floated toward our low ceilings in tissue paper flame leaving me cloaked in embers and ashes. Surely even in this death the susurrus of resurrection gather like a great wind to blow off the still smoldering ash to reveal a new thing. A new me.

I am raw and trembling.

I was not consumed.

Marked by the scars of the piercing of the little years–even Jesus kept His, gloried in them–may these wounds remind me to open my eyes my arms to the present. To open myself to the burning, to the violence of letting go.

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6 Comments

  1. may lloren

    wonderful, pierced my own heart in a bittersweet way. missing my children in their younger years but moving forward entrusting the journey to Him💗

    • Aleah

      Solidarity, sister! This is a mother’s grief we carry, this letting go. May we be people who testify to His goodness even in our lament. He is worthy!

  2. Anonymous

    This caught my eye as I’m on the tale end of my story… My last child just went to college. No more little years, no more school-age years, no more teenage years. I told my husband, “I feel retired from motherhood”, as I cooked for only me last night. As soon as I had kids, my world revolved around theirs and theirs mine. I felt joyful, purposed and defined. As they grew up, their world included less and less of me. Natural, yes, but still it pings. God is with us in these lows. Thanks for the refocus. Certainly a next chapter is upon me. 🙂

    • Aleah

      May our faithful God, who is with us and for us in every season, walk you into all the good plans He still has for you. I can only imagine the burning pain of letting go on this scale. May He meet you in this valley and give you a vision for what’s next. He is our hope and future. Love to you, sister.

  3. These gorgeous and scalding words are hitting me at a time when I’m tempted to take attendance every morning. This has been a summer of two funerals, a son graduating, a son married, a new grandbaby on the way — change like whiplash even though much of it has been good change. Like you, I want to “open my eyes and my arms to the present” for this is where God has promised to meet me with grace. So glad that you’ve found your way back to writing again.

    • Aleah

      “…tempted to take attendance every morning.” That phrase stopped me in my tracks. May the Lord bless you in this new season. Grateful for the witness of those who are further along, thank you!

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