the grace of fragility

Cozied up in my comfy chair—still in pajamas, coffee in hand, snuggled under a blanket—I close my eyes and take a deep breath. And I can't help but smile. I have a home, a job, an income. I have friends and family who love me. I have health insurance, a car, a closet full of clothes. I have all I need, really. I shake my head in wonder. All gifts. All grace.

And I whisper a "Thank You"...

I open my eyes and breathe in deeply again. This nagging thought—the same one that's been hovering just beneath the surface for weeks now—scratches again and reminds me it's still there. It lingers close, threatening to steal my exhale and my smile. Like a funhouse mirror, it plays tricks on my mind, distorting hope into a frightening creature and making fears appear larger than they really are.

The thought I can't seem to shake is how fragile everything in my life feels, in a way it never used to. I'm painfully aware of how quickly it all can vanish. How in an instant, everything can be taken away.

Realizing life's fragility is ultimately a good thing. It keeps me mindful that nothing and no one ever belongs to me. It forces me to hold things (and people) more loosely. No matter how strong my death-grip, the concept of "mine" remains a mirage. Nothing is mine. And I'm not in control.

The constant reminder of fragility also leaves me feeling unsettled... insecure... unstable. It makes it difficult to invest in relationships, trust wholeheartedly, and put down roots. It feels harder to dream, to laugh, to enjoy the good that's present right now. Joy takes more effort than it used to and anxiety comes more easily. Hope often seems like a cruel joke. Remember Lucy and the football?

Sometimes that's what hope feels like, and I'm left feeling stupid that I fell for it yet again.

Even as I say all this out loud, I know how ridiculous it sounds even in my own head. I hear the nudging reminders not to worry about tomorrow as today has enough worry of its own. I see the "choose joy" on my arm and feel the heart hug of my ever-present friend who showed me what it means to live that out. I hear God calling me to hope. Again. No matter what.

I want to believe that eventually dreaming will feel easier again, that life—though fragile—will feel more secure, and that thoughts of the future will breed more hope than fear. I want to.

So I close my teary eyes again, and take a deep breath. I hold it as long as I can, and as I let the air out I shake my head. All gifts. All grace.

And I whisper a "Thank You"...