We Rise Up

No matter what, we always rise up. 1000 times if we must. Because, if my cloud of witnesses in heaven have taught me nothing else, life is meant to be lived.

All we need is hope and for that we have each other…

Andra Day

This past weekend we celebrated two different big days in the life of my family – COVID style.

First, on Friday night we initiated my oldest bonus daughter’s boyfriend into the family birthday rites, which include a present scavenger hunt, a specialized cake, and dinner out as a family somewhere nice, with party favors for everyone (including the grownups). This time we were blessed to practically have our own room since there were seven of us altogether. And our traditions have come from a number of places over the years, but my late husband and I have developed them together. We found ways to make our important days extra special, even before our children were born. One of our favorite traditions we adapted from my late mother-in-law’s love of party favors and made it our own.

Then on Sunday, I had the pleasure and privilege to help throw a Zoom baby shower for my big sister who lives clear across the country. We have waited, lo these many years, for this little one to finally join us (as my sister and I are both broaching forty at this point). So, my co-host and I worked diligently to get specialized tumblers and cookies to everyone for toasts and treats. We made games to share stories and laugh. And we were blessed to bring together people from not only across the country but also even one guest on the other side of the globe.

Then Monday hit. And it all came tumbling down.

Monday was my late mother-in-law’s birthday. Our first without her. She was the one who made everything so special for everyone else. Such a gift to all of us. It was something we shared and enjoyed doing together. Something I’ve tried to continue now that she is gone. And on Monday, the gaping hole in my heart was just too much. I watched the snow pile up outside (something else she would have loved) and curled in on myself.

Something else that Mimi (what my sons call her) and I share was our deep-rooted faith. Faith that can move mountains. Faith that can indeed get us through anything that life can throw at us.

In the end, though the gift-giving is fun and something we both have enjoyed over the near two decades we have known each other, creating those parties, those special times – like birthdays and showers and holidays and other celebrations – they were really about spending time together. Because we need each other. We need one another’s presence in joy, and especially in times of sorrow (which is why wakes are so important, too).

We give each other hope. And that hope gives us the ability to do what we followers of God, especially Christians, are known for: rising up. No matter what, we always rise up. 1000 times if we must. Because, if my cloud of witnesses in heaven have taught me nothing else, life is meant to be lived.

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