Like all the grieving I have ever waded through, it’s the stages that take me by surprise.

Some of my hard has looked like this:

Giant to-another-state moves where our family left one sort of life to live another sort.

Raising one child to an adult.

Close friends moving away from our circle.

The loss of my mother.

The death of my marriage.

It’s all been a path more jagged than straight.  A good morning followed by a bad afternoon on the heels of a beautiful evening smashed up against a weepy week.

Unpredictable and often unexpected.  A storm on a calm sea.  A rain shower on a sunny day.  A flat tire on a long awaited road trip.

Most recently it was a regular evening.  Friends at the dinner table.

One minute we’re talking about tomatoes and the next minute I’m tongue tied and I sort of wish I could leave the table and just sit in my room by myself.

It’s a good life I am living.  But it’s a hard life too.

I’ve never wanted this little internet blog space to be filled and overflowing with whining or pouting or woe-is-me lamenting.

But it IS my space and I also do want it to be filled with real.

Some days I am just tired.

Some days my wheelbarrow of bricks seems heavier than the day before.  My little red wagon of trouble and triumph seems bogged down and rusty and extra squeaky.

I’m tired.  That’s true.  Tired despite my current heroic efforts to maintain a proper bedtime.  Despite my self-enforced schedule to “fit it all in”.  Despite my copying over half of the Present Over Perfect book I just finished and by through which I was entirely motivated and gently convicted.

Sometimes the kitchen is clean and the floor is swept and the counter is sparkly.  And sometimes the dog has upended the trash can and apparently I am the only human alive in this home who has noticed the corn cob on the floor beside the lettuce leaf and the literal pile of dirt.  Did someone just empty a shoe here or what?

And my friends at the dinner table earlier spoke freely of wedding anniversaries and complimentary personalities.  They shared funny and endearing stories about how the one spouse balances out the other spouse and how the team they find themselves in in marriage has just been the greatest blessing and you must know that it is without a hint of sarcasm that I am writing this and I have said it before and I will say it again – I want your marriages to work.  I want your love to be a big love and I want your story to begin and end well, with romance and hard work and beauty and sweetness and mutual heavy lifting and partnership.    I want ALL of that for my friends.  For you.  For my children.

And I wanted it all for me too.

Which causes these moments, these unanticipated moments, where the earth falls away below my feet and my heart leaps to my throat and my eyes sting and I feel so wickedly uncomfortable in my own skin and I just want to scream about what feels like the vast weight of unfairness to me and my people.

Sometimes that’s what I feel too.

And the trickiest part is that I just never know when the load of rotten will shift and land square on my shoulders.  I never can predict when a word or a glance or a story will trip me up and send me sprawling.

The good news, the hopeful part, is that when I do fall, I stay down for a shorter time these days.  When I am blindsided, I don’t set up my tent and make a fire there and get all cozy in my sorrow.

And that’s a lovely sort of encouraging success if you are me living this life.

But it would be a lie to pretend that it’s only sunshine these days.  That all hope and mountain tops and starry skies are the reality.  That’s not any more true for me than it is true for you.

The falling matters as much as the soaring.

And my days are still steady full of both.