Spaceship, 2nd grade

Part of An Instagram Art Show

I vaguely remember making this picture. I think it was a somewhat collaborative piece with a teacher, because I recall getting it back and wondering why my other planets looked more oblong than round. As an adult, I think the finished product looks better than what I must have intended.

The last few days have been incredibly hard. I’ve been mostly without words, trying to figure out what I’m feeling, wondering if verbalizing it will make things better or worse. Joshua came home from the hospital a week ago. Changing his IV bag ourselves has been terrifying. I wept all Saturday afternoon when family was at our place for a postponed Thanksgiving dinner. Today Etta threw the worst tantrum yet, and I had to physically restrain her for more than twenty minutes. Moses has been the only consistent factor in our lives, ready for snuggles, diaper changes, nursing, and naps. It feels like we live on a different planet than three months ago, before the hospital visits and personality changes and extreme weight loss and exhaustion. I was so hopeful then.

1 Peter talks a lot about suffering, and I don’t like it: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

I do not know how to rejoice in suffering. I do not know how to look forward to revealed glory that seems infinitely far away. I want to be comforted by God’s promises, that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10). But I am weak and angry and confused. My desires feel inconsequential. My hopes unattainable. I don’t know how to move forward. All I can think to do right now is mumble scriptures I know, praying something will make sense, move me from wallowing in sadness, into something less black.