Ancient History

Follow Me?



Disappointment gnaws at the spinal cord, slowly. A nibble here, a nibble there. Disappointment finds the sugary and most tender part until it hears a snap, licks its chops and paws, and slinks off.

Paralysis is the child of the feast. When small things don’t work out—like being late for a barbeque or finding that your favorite shirt fell behind the hamper and didn’t get included in the load—you barely think about it.

When disappointment remembers to bring the machete, you think about it. A lot. You wonder how much connection is left in the back—is it a cord or a string? Is it taut, unraveling, or as strong as ever?

I desperately want to move forward but feel paralyzed, emotionally. This house hunting thing is not just about finding a new place to lose my keys. It isn’t about a new refrigerator for leftovers. Somehow it is inextricably linked with the loss of our baby and I need it to work out. I need something to work out.

Here we are, ready to make another offer and not really feeling sure about it. The only thing I am 100% positive about is that despite everything, despite disappointment-with-a-machete, God loves me.


On that note, I ended. I had to drive kids to schools. Dishes were calling. I didn’t even have my ponytail yet.

Now that my hair is pulled back, critical chores are done, three out of five kids are in school (the other two are munching on dry Apple Cinnamon Cheerios only feet away), I can complete my thoughts.

What is the precipice? I am keenly aware that our decision regarding the house will seal into place factors that will influence our children for years to come. I am squinting, trying to discern what life will look like while looking back over my shoulder to see where we’ve been. Unfortunately, the things that I want to leave behind cannot be left behind, like the loss. It is the first box I will pack and it will be that way for the rest of our lives.

And I don’t know what to do with it. When I unpack it, do I put it on the mantle? On the front door, like a wreath? Or do I hide it in the basement toilet tank, or under my bed so I can hear it growling at night like a shaggy monster?

It makes people uncomfortable, as if it is contagious. I know that. It made me uncomfortable too.

A few years ago I joined a MOPS group and in the packet of goodies I received there was a copy of the book Where’s God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey. Not a big believer in random coincidence, I shuddered when I saw it—I knew that someday I would need the book. I put it on a shelf, up high, and didn’t think about it much. It seemed odd to receive a book like that along with scrapbooking stickers and a Veggietales video.

Wasn’t life as a Christian homemaker supposed to be all about potlucks, playdates, and pearls? Until the loss, it was.

The loss was a gift because it plunged me into places I had never been, I felt sorrows I never imagined, I felt lonely to the core. It made me realize that as much as I love my family and friends they can’t go with me to those places, but God can and He did. He resides in the good times of tuna casseroles and brownies at the potluck and the times of despair where everything tastes, smells, feels, and looks like ashes.

The house, the loss, my boxes of life—they are slung together, forever.

3 comments to Precipice

  • Amy P

    G — you made me cry! The burden of your sadness which you must take with you… The loneliness… Your certainty that God shares it all with you… I am comforted knowing that He will give you a place for this sad event, a place where it fits and you belong, just as He did when I was approaching the 2-yr anniv of Joshua’s heart surgery and sought Him for closure, healing and peace. I wish peace for you, too.

  • mopsy

    Thanks, AmyP…when you wrote “a place for this sad event” I pictured exactly that. Like the cabinet where my great-grandmother kept all the things we weren’t supposed to touch. You could see them and long to hold them, but it was understood they were never to be for our clumsy little hands.

    It’s ironic–she died over ten years ago and I have no clue what happened to her “treasures” but I know where she is–with God.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

  • Momofmopsy

    My daughter, I wish I could shield you from life’s pains and sorrows and that a kiss would make it better. But that is not the way it works and I can see that God is growing you in ways that only He can. I know that you will be stronger and more of assured of his grace and power as you trust him through these hard times. I am so very proud of you and the wonderful woman you have become.

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