How it works is, you’ll be driving along and you’ll look out the window to the blooming flowers on the side of the highway and you’ll remember bouncing in the back seat of the old, red, rusty Dodge Dart your family owned when you were a little kid. You had been calling out, “Mom! Mommy look! Look at all those daisy rhymes!” And rather than correcting you, she will smile, and sing a song about daisy rhymes, and be glad that you came up with such a pretty name for such pretty flowers. Your son will holler, “PRETTY!” from the back seat and he will point at those same flowers and your heart will melt and break at the same time, and you will cry.
How it works is, you’ll be sitting with that same precious boy in your lap and you will be reading to him from “The Year the Relatives Came.” And thinking about all that love and longing in the book will choke your voice and shake your soul and you will be crushed with the weight of it while you read on. Your son will look at you and he will say with his little boy lisp, “You okay, Mom? Yeah. I okay.” And you will laugh at the same time the tears fall while you finish the story and put him down to sleep and smell his soapy baby head of hair.
How it works is, you’ll be bringing your niece home from school and at the red light she will say out of the blue from the back seat, “I sure miss Grandma and I haven’t seen her in a long, long time. I wonder how long it will be before we see her again, up in heaven?” And you will accelerate into traffic and you will be trying to explain how far away and how close heaven is at the same time and you will miss your turn and get a bit lost, but it’s okay because you just need to ache for a moment, and acknowledge that sad little heart in the back seat, and you feel a little lost a lot of the time anyway so it doesn’t feel like anything new.
How it works is, you’ll be feeding the kids at the dinner table and you will be hopping the baby on your hip to make him laugh and you’ll be listening to a song that reminds you of her smile and her laugh and her blazing faith in the face of death and you will look at your niece who is looking at you and you will explain your watery smile by saying, “This song reminds me of Grandma, baby. That’s all. It reminds me of her because it’s a song about a lady who loved Jesus so much it made her beautiful.” And you will ache every time you think about it for the rest of the day.
How it works is, every time you hurt and every time you ache and every time you cry, you will know a peace you didn’t expect and you will hear a voice you know reminding you that there is more to this story. There is more to all of this. You will be reminded that He greeted her by name and He knows your name, too. And you will hurt. Oh. How you will hurt. But you will find unexpected joy in the midst of all that pain.
And for now, that is what keeps you going. And right now, that’s just how it works.