The older I get, the more I see it: the look — the longing look in a mother’s eyes when things didn’t turn out like she hoped. It’s not necessarily disappointment or despair or even bitterness — it’s just sort of: sorrow. There’s another look, too — it’s the hopeful look in a mother’s eyes at the mention of one of her children, a memory or an event from days gone by… it’s joy. Joy is in her eyes.
Well, that’s what I’ve come to think motherhood’s all about: joys and sorrows. Motherhood is a call to sorrow; Motherhood’s a call to joy. Truly, sorrow skips no home — but joy — joy’s not far behind, either.
Throughout these many years of motherhood, I look back and see the braided events… the joy, the sorrow — and the Lord. I know I’ve got sorrow in my eyes — but I’ve got joy in my eyes, too. All around me is the braid: the cords of joy and sorrow. It’s as if He’s just been holding the whole braid together — for, were it not for Him, the joy and sorrow would just be a tangled, knotted twist — but somehow — marvelously — He’s the central strong cord that’s made it a long braid: a long braid of years — a long braid of joys and sorrows intermingled with His cord of grace and mercy lovingly held in His gracious hands.
I suppose He could’ve prevented or not allowed some of the sorrows — but I so needed them, for without them I’d not have appreciated or understood the deepness of joy. And, I suppose He could have withheld some of the joys — but without them I wonder if I’d not have been able to accept or endure the sorrows. Without the sorrows I’d still be going along unrepentant, unchanged, unrestored. Without the joys I’d be weary, weak and probably feel without hope. He could have done many things differently. He could have given or withheld.
But He didn’t.
And I’m glad.
In His great wisdom and merciful kindness, He allowed a blending of the two — and as I’ve experienced the reality that He’s the one with the cords in His loving Hands I see more and more how surely I have needed both. But I forget that sometimes. I wonder: how will a situation be resolved? I fret: _________ will never be different than it is today. I weep: how will this son or daughter make it? I cry to Him: what will the end of all of this be? I laugh with joy and ask Him: how could I possibly be this blessed? I smile and exclaim to Him: how could I be so fortunate to have the life I have or the family or the health or strength I have today or have had all these years? All the while all of these facets of the cords of joy and sorrow are gently (though sometimes it feels anything but gently) turning in His hands gently twisting, braiding, blending, strengthening the braid.
Sorrow’s right around the corner.
Joy’s right down the path…
I need them both.