I sat there willing the feelings to come. It’s been two years, but I still wrestle with the grief of it all. Loss is not something easily processed. You don’t just wake up one day and feel recovered from it all. It changes you, stays with you, not only in painful ways, but in beautiful ways, too. I am not the same person I was two years ago. Part of me is grateful, but the other part of me feels shattered. I am working hard these days to feel more grateful…less shattered, but some days are better than others, and this particular day the shattered side was winning. 

The lab was closed. I stood there staring at the sign, willing it to say something different, but the words stayed the same. I knew in my heart of hearts that if I could just get my labs done we would find another piece of this puzzle, another thing to solve…and maybe my feelings would come, my emotions would normalize and I could have some sense of feeling like myself again. 

But the lab was closed. Today would not be that day. And something so trivial, so normal sent me down the road of despair. As I turned the car around and drove the pointless twenty minutes back towards home, that despair grew. All the feelings of the recent days flooded in and I knew if I drove all the way home, I would find my bed, the tears would flow, and I wasn’t sure when they would stop. 

The night before I said goodbye to a friend. She’s moving away. She arrived in Alaska four days after I did and we became fast friends. We both grieved our moves, suffered through two hard winters, and fought our way through the language barrier of her native Russian tongue, because both of us so desperately needed a friend. And here we were, two years later, saying good-bye, which was hard enough in itself, but something else deeper struck me. 

She was truly sad. 

She had fallen in love with Alaska and didn’t want to leave it. My heart hurt as I watched her begin to grieve Alaska and all that she was now leaving behind. But not only was I grieving with her, I was aching to feel the same way. How had she done it? How had she opened her heart to this place and let it take residence there? This girl is half my age but she has no idea how much she has taught me in two short years. Her trust in God runs deep. Her vulnerability opened her up to becoming known in such a short time. Her smile was genuine and her tea was perfect. 

And here, in the car, auto-pilot kicked in and emotions threatened to bubble over. I was approaching our well-known look out off the highway. We drive by it almost every day, taking for granted the spot that draws people in on a daily basis because of its stunning view. But this day I didn’t drive by…I pulled in.

The parking lot was empty.

I had the bluff to myself. I found a raincoat in the back of the car to sit on, and I trudged up the hill to meet with God. I don’t know why I stopped where I did, it seemed like a nice enough spot, but as I settled in and looked up for the first time expecting to take in the view and hoping it would somehow connect me with my creator, what I first noticed was the weed. 

In the foreground of this majestic view was this lone weed. Growing up out of the gravel, out of place, and alone. I just kept staring at it. I felt so much like this weed. I want to blend in to the backdrop. I want to feel apart of this place I now live and truly call it home, but all I could identify with in this moment was the weed. 

Sitting in the gravel, out of place, alone. 

This despair had nothing to do with the lab being closed, but the defeat in that moment opened the gates for the rest of the defeated areas to flood in…

…Alaska has not become home…

…A life-line of a friend is moving away…

…Anxiety continues to plague me…

…Counseling is a slow process…

…This post-coronavirus world feels suffocating at times…

…Marriage is hard…and rewarding…and hard…and rewarding…

I sat there willing the feelings to come. Wishing I could just connect with what was beyond the weed. Praying for God to meet me there. My phone buzzed. A Marco Polo from a friend wondering if I was home and wanted company. Oh, how desperately I wanted to answer her, but I couldn’t stop the tears or find the words. I picked up and put down my phone three times. I gave up and hoped that somehow, some way God would relieve me of this despair before I walked back down that bluff. The tears were a steady flow down my face; I couldn’t find the words. 

That’s when I heard her voice, “You are not alone!” She had seen my lone car in the parking lot and made a decision to lean in to what ever she would find on that bluff. 

I whipped my head around and saw my Marco Polo friend walking up the hill. I burst into tears and said, “What are you doing here?!” through my sobs. 

She said, “You just let it all out…don’t keep anything in.”

And for the next hour we shared our hearts in a way I will never forget. God saved me from despair in such an unexpected way. I told her she was like an angel walking up that hill. God brought me one of my best Alaskan friends…and through her I heard his whisper, “I see you. You matter. You are a part of the bigger picture. You have a place here…and you are not alone.”

One Reply to “What God Did With a Weed”

  1. Oh Terah! I love this story! I am sorry for the hard feels that just seem to want to linger! God cares for you so deeply! I am so glad He brought comfort to you in that moment.
    You have been on my mind lately sweet friend. Love you!

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