The Curse of Abundance

I've been writing here about baseball games and birthdays, orchards and hayrides, the bubbling happy surface, the rising top of a freshly poured soda. It's as real and sweet and true as the first sip on thirsty lips, but it isn't all there is.

Because deeper, in the pit of stomach, I am rifled with melancholy, raw and sporadically terrified.

A couple days ago, during Caed's birthday party, Larry injured his hand. There was enough blood to make my heart race, enough to warrant a visit to urgent care. Even after I knew he would be fine--that the only thing wrecked were his chances to scrub in on trauma surgeries this week--even then, I could not stop the inward screaming.

On the outside, at the top of the glass, I held it together. I served the cake and snapped pictures and smiled, and truthfully, thoroughly enjoyed the party with our family. But underneath, layered so deep, I felt it. Like the bass clef of a song--the part that gives depth to the melody, and you notice it when it's not there, but you still never really hear it, not on its own. And that bass has been growing louder for the past two weeks, and when I tune in, it's loud, so loud, I'm not sure I recognize the song anymore. It sounds nothing like the happy song we've been singing.


I remember, after my dearest friend lost her husband when their son was 11 weeks old,
we looked at pictures from the day her sweet boy was born. And she said, "Those were the happiest days of my life. I had everything, and I didn't know it." She's probably forgotten those words now six years past, but they still haunt me.

I go to the fall festival, and I feel as though I'm watching myself from the top of the tree house, seeing myself traipse through the corn maize, pulling Dani on my lap for a hayride, snapping pictures of slides and smiles. And I shout to the faraway me, "Please know. Know that you have everything, that these are the happiest days of your life."

And I see this fragile perfection, when love is abundant and these treasured lives are healthy and carefree, when their faces beam innocent and trusting, when their father too, is here to see them grow, to sing harmony in this song. Then I see how, in a heartbeat, in just one note, we could all screech and smash into terror and loss and grief and heartbreak. And it makes me want to cry, to fall to pieces in front of the kettle corn stand.

I feel this strange responsibility, having borne witness to the pain that dearest friends have lived, are living. Whether it is the loss of a husband or never having had one at all, the loss of a child or the wishing for one, I see them struggle, and I think that the least I can do is to be immensely grateful. No complaining about how hard marriage is. No jokes about how I can't wait for the kids to be in school all day. No. It's my strange responsibility to be mindful of how blessed this life has been thus far, how I have everything, abundance.


But I think perhaps I have taken this mindfulness too far, and I've let my mind wander from the beauty of the moments here and now to the thought of how very much there is to lose. Is this the curse of abundance?

I know the Christian cliche, how we talk of all of it coming from and belonging to God, how He gives and takes away, how deepest joy is found in the morning He makes, these bright mornings coming so often on the heels of a sorrowful night. I believe all this, and then some. But in the gut of where I live right now, that raw and momentarily terrifying place, I can't tie this neatly up. I don't even want to try to tie this neatly up. I just want to come clean, to name the feelings and to confess how very little I know, especially when it comes to the answers.

This one thing I do know, though. These are the happiest days of my life.


Linked the lovely Madeline Bea's Sunday Creative prompt: Abundance.

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