July 14, 2016. Kara’s birthday. She would have been the big 4-0! Which would have meant a crowded house of friends (and probably some strangers). The day would have been a picture of music, laughter, eating good food, drinking good wine, enjoying our friends. But that picture is nothing compared to what she experiences now.
I rejoice today that her party is beyond our earthly pictures of a party—beyond our pictures of joy, and peace, and celebration. She is at a party that never ends and no one has to plan or stay after and clean up. A party that her father will never ask her to leave early—she gets to stay forever.
Birthdays are a mark of age and time passing. With this celebration, I feel time passing more, and in a good way. I feel a new turn of my life, like I have made it through the winter and the grass is beginning to grow and flowers are beginning to bloom—flowers I didn’t know existed. Flowers I was reluctant to ever dream of. Flowers that point to a glorious present and a wonderful future.
I feel this in my kids also. Over the last 16 months, the five of us have cried together, talked together, and laughed at the most mundane things. We have built memories and new patterns, and our new normal is now normal. It has been healing. But these recent days have allowed me to see that God continues to work; I see his Grace for us and his protection over our lives in shocking ways.
I do not know what is on the horizon for us as a family, but I see glimpses of what it could be. These glimpses bring me to tears. I have been able to say out loud what I hope is in my future to my close community, and it has been so wonderfully received. What a joy it is to have a community who accepts me when all I do is cry and then rejoices with me when those moments come.
So today I celebrate God’s gift of Kara, and I know if she received an invitation for an earthly 40th party, she would decline. She has more glorious plans! She has a better party!
And I can say this brings me joy.