I wrote this a few weeks ago, shortly before things turned a corner and became much smoother. Mark and I were genuinely sleep deprived and had been for weeks. For now both of us are on the other side of that darkness (it's downright divine what a few solid hours of sleep will do for your psyche), but this piece of writing still holds true for me. This pinnacle evening changed my outlook and continues to do so.
In a dimly lit bedroom, wet cloth diapers and coffee mugs strewn about, deep nighttime filled the sky outside the window and I, replete of energy and grace, sat crumpled in bed with my face in my hands. Our daughter was in need of sleep but inconsolably crying, and in that moment it seemed the crying would never end. I had just handed her to Mark, with whom I'd been bickering over I Can't Even Remember and It Didn't Matter. Wishing for a romantic chimera instead of a greasy-haired day at home, I s'pose. In my despondency I prodded God: Where is the gift in this? Mired in self-pity of my own creation; aligning myself with the sorry sort I knew in books. And then, as though a shroud of self-asborption evaporated, I looked up to see my husband on his knees beside the changing table, eye-level with his quieted baby, whispering sweetly to her through his own exhaustion. Right then and not a moment sooner I knew: This is the gift. It's not hidden or late to arrive; this very nowness is the gift. And suddenly my perspective went from pleading to praising. The two people I love most in this life, with whom I get to share my bedroom, a warm room in a house I cherish, which is situated in a town that is also home to my family and all of my childhood memories . . . that's all gift? Oh right, so it is. The exhaustive bouncing and ceaseless crying and nights that turn morning too soon are not chapters to be omitted from our story. Nor are the toothless smiles, or the suppers eaten with a babe on the breast, or the sweetness of family bath time. Turns out there is grace—freely given and abundantly available—even in the sorriest moments and sourest attitudes (of which I have had many). In fact, it turns out life really and truly and sincerely is All Gift.