jaundiced january, or, my comfort in my affliction

Hello from the other side. We’ve had a difficult couple of months. Just before Christmas, Silas stopped sleeping, Clara debuted her version of the terrible twos, and I spent my rare free time just staring at the wall and breathing, maybe drinking an anti-stress tea or finally getting to the bottom of my thrice-microwaved morning coffee. The kids’ reliable afternoon naps–so appreciated–vaporized out of existence.

Sluggish and sleep-deprived, I tried to find a new routine that worked while only using (it felt like) about half of my brain. And then. After a brief moment of cheer, marking the new year with a neighborhood meal too abundant to make a dent in, it got worse. Sickness visited our household and picked us off one by one. Victor and I both had mild cases of COVID, but the kids’ illnesses were more severe: Silas wheezed with bronchiolitis that required emergency treatment and Clara was down with what we suspect was COVID–she had fatigue, fever, and serious tummy issues. We visited les urgences twice in a week. We didn’t see friends (because covid) and lost our routines and rhythms: those lovely things that differentiate mornings from evenings, Sundays from Mondays.

Every day was the same gray, bleak afternoon. The bottom of a well. Always unshowered, always a towering pile of laundry on the horizon, always running out of Kleenex, always a new symptom, a new problem to solve. I was homesick, discouraged, just plain tired. I barely trusted myself to reply to a text, much less write something on the internet. The Bible is full of lament and I went there, gravitating to the Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes. The wisdom books. The ‘why is life so hard,’ grappling-with-despair books. Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless. This situation lasted a couple of weeks but felt absolutely endless, as these times are wont to do. It helped a little to remember that life is full of seasons, by design. A time to mourn, a time to dance.

Taking poor wheezing Si to his daily kiné appointment
Sweet sick Clara

One day, as unassuming as the arrival of spring’s first daffodils amongst the dead leaves, the miserable present turned into the past. A good night’s sleep brought clarity. A walk in the sun with a friend–cheerfulness. The purchase of a double stroller–relief. Two healthy children giggling together at breakfast–gratitude. The chance to sing together at church, after weeks and weeks of absence–joy. Plans for the future–hope.

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” -Psalm 119:50

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