a small spark in the gloaming’s dark

One of the nice things about having only one car, that has a broken heater, is that when I get in the car, every time, I am cold and I chuff my hands and look forward to when the car gets warm. Then when I realize it’s not going to, I have this surge of awareness. I feel awake and alive. I think about those things we take for granted and how grateful I am for the opportunity to NOT forget those wonderful blessings.

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity, by turns exhausting and exhilarating. A friend shows up in need. A friend shows up to give. Someone tells me Thank You and then tells me why. A friend looks like she’s been crying. Another is staying away. A family member offers support. Our cat comes home with a tattered ear. A restaurant gives us a free pizza! I cook up two pots of soup in two days. Friends arrive for a movie, and an hour into it our rabbit rudely yanks out the electrical cord to stop the film, and we all laugh.

The financial help is so welcome while we have hardship with the cars and while the weather is cold and while Christmas is upon us. When it comes to cash I’d like to save up for a house payment maybe, but instead I inevitably cave and purchase here-and-now-needed items: today, a few pieces of winter clothing for my children. It is very cold here and it kills me to see children improperly provided for (anyone’s children). My kids rarely complain about being cold but they gush gratitude at the new coats.

But, only after I buy the garments and zip them up under their chapped cheeks. While on our way to Ross my son is cranky: “Why are you buying me winter clothes? Last time they only lasted ONE winter then I grew out of them.” He is querulous, wanting things like video games and ice cream sundaes and trips to exotic locales, and I feel this kind of wild urge to cry, but it is a gladness all the same.

My husband leaves for work in the morning. He kisses my son and myself, snuggled in the same bed, Goodbye. I tell him, “I am not doing very well. I am feeling like a terrible mom.” Ralph says gently, “You’re the best mom I know.” I rest, breathing in and out, and I think No So Much, I don’t feel great. I feel unsettled and unsure.

Every morning when he and my daughter hit the rode I pray for their safety. Car travel is treacherous, especially when weather is foul.

It takes a lot of courage to get up each day and try to do well, and try to do the best we can despite what has happened recently to one of our children, and given what our family is going through in dealing with the aftermath. But one day I know I will feel better, and I’ll have a friend who will be having this kind of struggle. And I’ll be able to tell that friend about courage and maybe they won’t feel so alone.

For now having that full pantry and having something hot on the stove is a tremendous help.

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