Parking Lots.

Went to the grocery store tonight and, as I pulled into a parking space, I became paralyzed with sadness. You see…there was a really tall, big guy with short hair, a cap and a big beard walking out of the grocery store. He was holding the hand of his daughter, the sweetest looking little four year old you can imagine. She had a shock of bright blonde hair. Happiness spread out in a ripple effect around them as she jumped up into her daddy’s big red truck. It looked so much like Carl and the little girl we dreamed of having together. I watched them with such longing. I imagined how that scene would have made my heart smile a million times if…if only…

My gosh, my heart has broken into so many pieces. It is moments like these that just can’t be plan for.

Then I saw my friend and Africa travel co-hort, Jenn, in the parking lot. The exchange I had with her ended up making me laugh and smile. God’s grace overlapped when I ran into sweet Betty Port, a woman who worked for my parents all of my childhood and well into my adulthood. I hadn’t seen her in almost a decade! She knew what had happened and offered her love in the way that only Betty can do. When she asked about things, I told her my plans to go to Africa. I told her how I had given my life to God the day Carl died. I told her about how this is where God is leading me, about how God was using this tragedy to bring me to all these things I could have never imagined. My eyes brimmed with tears, but I felt the beauty of God in that moment and so did Betty. She gave me a hug that said everything words could not.

And as I sit here now, there are still tears in my eyes. My heart still feels so immeasurably raw from seeing that man and his daughter. The reality of the dreams that Carl and I had together are irrevoably gone. It hurts. So much. I let myself lean into the peace of knowing that God is taking me somewhere new. My heart still wants to smile and laugh as I watch a little girl of my own holding her daddy Carl’s hand. The hurt is indescribable. And yet…over and over and over again, I am offered a choice.

So I choose to continue living. I choose to love those little kids I’m about meet on the other side of the world with my whole heart, my whole being. Because that is what love does. It continues.

I love you, Carl. It doesn’t go away. It just keeps growing. God, give me the grace to choose You…over and over and over. It is the only way I am going to survive this world. Give me something to sing about. I know You will. You are. Dear God, help me to live, truly Live.

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