As I sit and ponder what has been on my mind and try to come up with interesting ways to put it down, for some reason I just come up blank. It has been an interesting, fun, and difficult couple of weeks, with lots of family visiting, Christmas, New Years, riding the public transit train in Salt Lake City, and of course, some good old shooting of guns in the desert. There has not been a lot of time to catch my thoughts and in my life, I can barely catch them on a good day.
So here I sit, looking back at the whirlwind of fun that the holidays can bring and the frustrating emotional moments of that empty seat, belonging to my son.
I haven't fully been able to grasp my new reality without him. There are constant reminders of what could have been that no longer is. When we sit down for dinner, the three us, I look at the space he once occupied and try to imagine him here now. The place in the car that now serves as extra packing space for all the things Melissa would like to bring on our travels, once held his car seat but no longer. The nursery (Ella's room) that still bares his name on the wall has an absence to it. These are just a few of the daily experiences I have and the holidays had their fair share.
There is no need to despair, for there is still much good in our lives that comes right alongside all the hard times. Melissa and I are expecting again, and we are delighted at another child in the Wiebe home. We pray for our new baby and as a couple continue to grow stronger together. Also, watching our little girl get excited over seeing Uncles and Aunties, cousin, and Grandparents, is always a delight. She brings such funny moments to each day and is regularly a fire cracker of fun.
One recent story in particular makes me smile. Melissa's Dad took us out to eat one night and I decided to share my soda pop with Ella. She sucked it in and spit it out just as fast all over herself. Being dad, I immediately explained that this is not ok, and that even if she didn't like it, she should not spit it out. She replied by simply stating, "if I don't like it, you should not put it in my mouth." Good point, and a good laugh. I am glad she is turning 3 soon because being told the obvious by a two year old feels a little odd...Actually, it will probably feel the same at three.
These holidays had their ups and downs with numerous things that would bring a smile or a tear, sometimes both. It all seems bittersweet.
It does make me wonder if this is the new normal. A bittersweet taste to many events of our lives for many years to come. I am told it wears off a little bit but never completely goes away. I do not believe that it is all that bad though, or even something to be discouraged by. Let me explain what I mean in terms of food. When I bite into something that is bitter, the taste always make me focus more on what I am putting in my mouth, while too much sweetness tends to cause me to get sick, or at least it makes it harder to put my shoes on with the growth of the belly that I have come to call "Wiebe Pride" (seems to run in the family).
In terms of life, the bitterness constantly causes me to step back and look at my life. I might not always get the best perspective but I evaluate non-the-less. The sweetness to me represents the blessings. Now how can these be bad? By themselves, I don't think they can, yet, too many blessings, I believe, can be dangerous. For some reason, I end up believing that I deserve them and I am owed them rather than being gracious for them. An example: I think we can lose touch with the fact that we are blessed just by being born in North America and take it for granted that we were not born in a third world country where many of us wouldn't even make it out of childhood.
I suppose what it means to me, today, is simply that this balance of reality can keep my life in check appreciating the gift of life that God has given, and at the same time keeping me focused on what is truly important.
...there it is. I caught my thoughts...