It’s A Wonderful Life

DSC_2589-Edit

11/25/17 – Our Thanksgiving was a blessed one. It wasn’t stressful, we didn’t spend a lot of time on the road, and somehow we managed to see a lot of family AND take a cute photo for our Christmas cards over the course of two days.

Leslee and I were doing good. Great, actually.  Our focus was on the present…not the past…not the future.

The past is now something I don’t want to talk about. Saying that makes me feel a little guilty, but in my mind, it has nothing to do with Leif, and everything to do with choosing joy. Choosing healing. Choosing to continue on this path the Lord has me on in cooperation with His will rather than dwelling on what mine was.

The future is always uncertain. So, the day I have is mine to enjoy. One good family photo was all I needed, so we sat for it and my mind was on making sure the girls were doing what they were supposed to be doing while I was still maintaining a smile.

We got up and started back for the house when sadness snuck up on me. Our family photo was missing a person. I should have had my little guy in my arms. My arms were empty. And this photo on my camera looked as if nothing had ever happened.

Inhale, exhale. Get it together, Breauna. I had actually been avoiding family photos to avoid this feeling. However, Luxe wasn’t a part of any of our family pictures to date, so I took the opportunity I had on this one.

We walked in the house and the girls were a blessed distraction as they bustled around trying to put play clothes on and go their separate ways with other family members. I sat at my desk in the silence and touched up a few things on the photo. The next task was perusing the different holiday cards for the perfect one.

I scrolled and scrolled thinking, Meh, not right for us….too many picture slots…too much pizzazz…etc. I wanted something very simple. At the very end of all the card choices, I found it. Just the right one. It was a simple family photo card and across the bottom it said, “It’s a wonderful life.”

I sat there and pondered that for a bit. I overanalyzed what people might think of me–with my empty arms—sitting there on a card that says it’s a wonderful life. The enemy was in my ear. “Is it a wonderful life, Breauna? Really…for you? I’m pretty sure a person wouldn’t call losing a child a wonderful life…”

No…no, they wouldn’t. But, that still didn’t define everything that this family in the photo was…or is. Losing Leif didn’t make the people or the pieces that still remained any less wonderful. It didn’t make me any less full of wonder when I thought about how this life had been specifically orchestrated for each of us by a Master Conductor.  How each day was another piece of the puzzle that I was certain was going to be wonderful when I got to see it all put together and finished.

It is a wonderful life, I firmly declared and went about setting our photo in that card, all the while still feeling melancholy.

Leslee walked in from doing chores and peeked around the bedroom door.

“Whatcha doing?” he casually asked.

“Oh, trying to get our Christmas cards ordered…It’s got me in a little bit of a funk.”

“Oh, yeah? Why’s that?” he asked.

“Well, I look at it and I can’t help thinking about what it’s missing…”

“I totally hear that. I was thinking about that earlier,” he replied.

“But…,” I looked up at him, tear-filled eyes, as he looked at the proof of our Christmas card, and said, “it’s still a wonderful life…right?”

“Oh, babe…absolutely,” he emphatically replied. He circled the three girls in the photo with his finger and said, “There ain’t nothin about this that isn’t wonderful. I look at the three of you and think, ‘Man! How did I ever get so blessed?!’ It is a wonderful life. Send that one. That’s the card.”

I guess all I needed was his corroboration to bolster my own belief. It’s interesting how choosing a simple Christmas card made me question my truth, but it wasn’t even about me, really. It was about me looking at my life from the outside–the tragedy of it–and wondering if someone would question God. What kind of God gives someone a baby and allows it to die? And how in the world is that woman still calling her life wonderful? She’s delusional. She’s out of her ever-loving mind!

See, that’s the point that I can’t explain to my own humanness. It defies understanding…this peace. This wonder that still remains. This joy. The wholehearted belief that God is still so good. It’s impossible to wrap a mind around.

Which brings me back to the card. It’s a wonderful life…when the Lord is in it. A wonderful life. Full of Him. Full of  wonder.

 

Advertisements

Country Blues: A Journal Entry

I’m not having a “rainbows and sunshine” kind of day. Literally and figuratively. For one, it’s cloudy, windy, and a random raindrop can be felt when you walk outside. I love the rain, but today it’s only lending to my melancholy because I’m having an “I feel isolated and miss my family/friends” kind of day. To tell you I didn’t have these kinds of days from time to time would be dishonest. And even though I keep this blog lighthearted and fun, let’s be real here: Life is not always so. There are things I want to do, people I want to see, favors from long ago  I want to return that are not always possible because I live a good distance from where I’m needed sometimes. When in these moods, I try to give myself a pep talk that goes something like this: “It is what it is, Breauna. You are where you are. You are way out here because that’s where God wants you–for now or forever. You can’t always save the day. You just have to do the best you can do.” And then I do my best to remember the wonderful perks that arise out of my current circumstances:

1. I am far away. I’m far away from all the bad things that come with city life. I’m far away from family and friends, but that just makes the time I do get to spend with them that much sweeter. I treasure it because I don’t get opportunity to take it for granted.

2. I get to stay at home with my daughter. I get to sit in the living room floor and play board games. I get to teach her. If my husband didn’t dairy farm, I don’t know that I would have the opportunity to do all of that  and I feel that it is so important. On top of that, when I’m needed somewhere, I don’t always have the ability to get there quickly, but at least I have the opportunity to get there. I wouldn’t even be able to entertain the idea if I worked.

3. Not only do I get to stay at home with my daughter, but I get to see my husband on and off throughout the day. Once in awhile, he might have time for a project I have in mind and we get to work on it together. Every bit of progress around here is ours and there’s reward in that.

4. A look out the window is to see the glory of God and His great blessing. The pastures, the hills, the flowers, the cattle, the buildings that help my husband provide for us like he does… The list goes on and on. Living off the land and relying on nothing but hard work and faith brings a person closer to God. It has for the both of us and I hope that it can only rub off on Peanut, as well. We’ve hit our hard times in farming, but the blessings far outweigh the troubles.

5. A man doing something he loves, knows, and is good at it is something to see. My heart swells knowing that the farmer finally feels like he’s doing what he was meant to do. I said earlier that “I’m where I am because that’s where God wants me to be.” Well, the same can be said of my husband and… wherever he goes, I will go.

6. I wouldn’t have opportunity to write about country life if we didn’t live in it.

7. I would never have known that I really enjoyed photography because I would never have had the opportunity to play. Country life inspires me. It makes me want to take the pictures. And the pictures make me want to write the stories.

8. We’d probably never have a Blue Heeler named Banjo if we lived in the city. For one, they need a lot of space. Two, his name just wouldn’t make as much sense. I remember the first time the farmer told the staff at the feed store why his name was Banjo: “Breauna named him. Pretty sure she thought there were some scenes reminiscent of Deliverance down here.” I wanted to crawl in a hole. Fortunately, they thought it was quite funny.

I know I’m leaving all kinds of things out, but I already feel better. Hopefully, some of it inspires you to remember what your blessings are on a “down” day, even though they might be different than mine. In fact, leave me a comment. What helps you on a melancholy day? What are things you wouldn’t get to experience if your circumstances were different?

Thanks for the therapy session. 🙂

Breauna