Shivering in the morning chill, my porch is no longer my comfort place. Birds chirp insistently, the feeder empty. Flitting from tree to tree, they come back to complain. Still, I remain, unable to gather the energy to add seeds for my winged friends. Later, I whisper, later I will bring you food. I may be lying. I’m too cold but can’t get up, I know warmth is only steps away, inside, a blanket, socks. Still, I remain. Everything is empty, drained of hope, drained of joy, drained of caring.

The dogs are slowed, responding to my ache. They don’t play, the sit and asked only sometimes to be petted. They know we are having a funeral for my hope.  My Plum told me at dinner that I looked sad. No masking my desolation from this perceptive child, he sees into my soul. I admitted that I was, asked what he does when he feels that way. He suggested I hug one of my specials, he hugs his purple blankie. He is my special. I cannot hug him long enough to quell this hurt.

Sunday again, time for church. I don’t want to go, I don’t want to move from my cold porch, change from my ratty robe, talk to anyone, hear music. I don’t want to enter into God’s house. Rather I want God to come see me here on my porch and bring me hope. I want God to tell me this isn’t a funeral. To whisper, be patient, my child. She is safe. Even then I may think He is lying. I don’t know how to trust again. This is what it feels like to be alone, without the surety that God is leading the way.  Tricked, confused, lost, how can I know what is right anymore. Then the sun begins to hit my chair, spreading warmth. Damn warmth, damn light, right where I sit. Angry, I miss the cold. I want to stay in the cold, the empty. It keeps my numb. I don’t want to feel angry, that lets other feelings in. I can’t bear the other feelings.

My head is screaming just leave me alone yet my soul is aching for the presence of the One who sees me. Grieving again, too much grieving. Unbearable heartache and I have to go to God’s house to sit with others who worship. I may sing the songs but I could be lying.


How do you fix something this broken? I was sure this was from God, the chance sighting of my long lost daughter. Chef had lunch with a friend from church, she walked in, didn’t see him in this tiny campus thai spot. Four years ago on this day we were visiting our strong bright girl in South Korea, our girl who was capable of speaking multiple languages and finding her way. Soon I would go back to travel Cambodia and Thailand with this girl, so proud of the young woman she had become. Now she sat in the thai restaurant inches from me and couldn’t find her voice. She allowed her husband to speak ugly hate-filled words to her mother, to her step-father, in front of her child. She didn’t use her voice, he spoke loud profane threats. He called the police. She stayed quiet. I know she allows worse for herself. The officer tells us she has to choose to leave, we can just let her know we are here for her. They suggest easing our way back in. Incredulous, I explain that was what I did. I said hello. She looked down, wouldn’t meet my eyes. She didn’t speak.

I taught my children to use their words. We didn’t allow violence into our home. Teachers always remarked with awe at the unusual ability of my kids to express their feelings. Teachers didn’t know we learned feelings words like primary colors. I was determined my children were never going to be silenced like I was. I gave them voices. I thought I gave them strength to make safe choices as well. I thought I gave them faith to always lead them in the right direction. I only gave them wings to fly away, minds no longer strong enough to stand up to cruelty, hearts hardened so easily against their one true champion.

Intellectually, I am angry at God, what a mess this all is and where is He? I could have had a perfectly normal Friday, not knowing she was even in town. How could I not believe He was in the timing and yet the disaster that ensued was surely the devil’s work. This story has been dragging on for almost 2 years, maybe this is the middle, not the end. Maybe God is using this horrible time to wake her out of this fog, God doesn’t tell me all of His plans. I don’t get to see each day’s outline, the agenda for the meeting. I know God can handle my anger, my questioning, I am not abandoning Him, He hasn’t done so to me. But surely, surely something must be gained from this?

Hours and hours of fantasies about a chance meeting, this was not ever how it ended. I went in too quietly, apologetically, slowly. I missed my opportunity to say everything I have stored up for 2 years. I didn’t know I only had seconds. I didn’t expect him to become aggressive and hostile in public. I thought I could hug my daughter, hear her voice. I ache to hear her laugh, to look into her eyes again, to hear stories about her daughter.  Maybe this is not the end of the story, just that really scary awful middle part. God hasn’t told me the rest.

I sat on the porch swing, the rocking disguising my quivering body. Still shaking an hour later. The slats of the bench need sanding, weathered by too many summers in the sun. Rubbing my hands along the seat, I realized I was just trying to feel something. I have lost my words, my feelings are so deep, buried, too dangerous to release. I think my Stella and I might be closer than I thought. Voices and feelings are often powerful, tornadoes that can destroy all in their path.  Ours have been buried, silenced by fear. I imagine another force of nature, a volcano, long simmering. I pray when she does erupt she does so with a safety plan that keeps her and little princess away from the distruction. I don’t know when I will let go of my feelings, I wish I had the strength to break a wall or cut down a tree but quickly dismiss these as wasteful and I love trees. I don’t advocate the cutting epidemic among the youth but have new understanding of just wanting to feel. My Chef tried to hug me, he is seeking any way to comfort me. I told him to stop. I learned early how to not feel. This is too big for my to allow into my world.

Rocking, shaking, touching the rough wooden swing, I try to begin again living without my daughter, an artificial loss, neither of us really gone. My laments only heard by God, I know He hears my cries. My prayers are soul screams. My heartbeats are demands for help. Rooted to my seat, silent, I swing and wait for the Lord.