Gifts strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped


Whit, reading one evening by Matt’s first-floor bed

It’s not a secret that September was difficult around here.  Late August and early October, too, if I’m being honest.  We aren’t yet finished with this season.  Matt’s recovery is long and slow.  But this particular moment when life screeched to a halt other than the absolutely necessary has carried some gifts in its hands, too.  This reminds me that all of life’s experiences hold both beauty and challenge.  I truly believe this, though I also know first-hand how hard it can be to see one or the other in middle of a moment.

But, given my fierce desire to acknowledge what’s good I thought it would be valuable to enumerate a few of the silver linings of this challenging time.

I’ve spent a lot of time with my children and husband.  We were already a foursome that spent a lot of time together (and it’s my introversion that guides this, sometimes to my and our detriment, I’m aware) but it’s been more lately.  Matt rarely leaves the house, and I don’t do so for anything other than what’s required (work, school, sports).

I’ve read a lot of books. I will summarize my favorites of 2016 towards the end of this year, but right now I’m still reeling from the glory that is Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.  Extraordinary.

I’ve learned who my true friends are. More on that in that post.  Yes.

I feel deeply grateful.  For our health (the distinction between this injury and illness is something I think about constantly), for our families, for the friends who’ve shown up.  For so, so, so much.

One of the questions I’m asked most often is what my favorite quote is.  I usually demur, saying something about how I can’t pick one.  And I can’t, that’s true.  But these words from Rebecca Wells (from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – no, I am not a snob about where I find wisdom!) have a claim to be my favorite.  I’m not surprised they’re in my mind a lot lately.  Lately as in several times a day. I recently shared the brief passage by Wells that I adore on Instagram:

I will do my best to give thanks to gifts strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped.

I will.  I am.

11 thoughts on “Gifts strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped”

  1. Lindsey,
    This lovely and thoughtful post reminded me of a quote I read recently from Glennon Doyle Melton: “You have been offered “the gift of crisis”. As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift”, as in, to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important. That’s what crises do. They skae things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away.”

    I love what you are saying here: “But this particular moment when life screeched to a halt other than the absolutely necessary has carried some gifts in its hands, too.” Yes. I find there is a strange calmness that comes with crisis. Maybe that’s why I have a tendency to create it, ha;)

    Sending you guys lots of love, patience, and healing energy.

  2. I was away in Israel and I have missed some posts. I just wanted to say that I am sorry about the difficult times you and yours are going through. I am wishing Matt a speedy recovery and I wish you and yours light and love .

  3. That really is a beautiful quote. I haven’t read that book in a thousand years. I should pick it up again.

    My favorite quote (maybe more of an expression) from “Divine Secrets” is when they say that one of the characters “dropped her basket.” Basically it means that in some, undiagnosed way, she had a major meltdown that required the overwhelming support of her friends. As I’ve followed along with your travails of the past month, I am so glad to infer that you have not dropped your basket – although I’m sure it would have been warranted. 😉

    Glad that you and your family seem to be emerging from the fog.

  4. Wow. I have goosebumps. I did not know that re: the root of crisis. I haven’t read LOVE WARRIOR though it is on my stack. I can’t wait. And I love what you say here. Yes. xoxo

  5. It’s so very true that we sometimes have to cut through layers of some pretty ugly wrapping paper to find the true gift. Wishing you an easier season ahead! xoxo

  6. I LOVE Glennon’s most recent book and hadn’t seen the quote yet but can most certainly relate. I have been in a fog the past six days after the death of a law school friend and classmate. He was a NYFD and was killed in an explosion leaving behind a beautiful wife and two young children. His death has left me questioning so many things. I keep resetting my mind and remembering to learn the lesson of being present and how fragile life is. I am trying to be thankful for my family and their health and peel myself away from the coverage of his funeral, wake and the accident itself. thank you for reminding me to count my blessings today.
    PS I loved The Underground RR. xxx

  7. I’m so glad you looked for the silver lining in all that happened in September because otherwise you’ll just simmer in the crud. And that’s a perfect quote, by the way. We can’t learn and grow when everything goes our way…unfortunately. Hang in there and thinking of you!

  8. That is a beautiful quote Lindsey, and I loved that book when I read it years ago! I did hear Glennon speak about the definition of crisis and it was so compelling to hear about its root, to sift. I spent so much time thinking of the people who weren’t there for my family decades ago during my mother’s prolonged illness, but perhaps I should also examine and remember those gems who were. xo

Comments are closed.