People often think of life as either a fairy tale or a tragedy, but the truth is that it very much a combination of both. It is blessed messiness.
I spent this past Labor Day weekend in Cape May saying goodbye to the summer. It was a beautiful weekend filled with family and friends beside the sea. We had a houseful of fun guests. Many of our family members got dressed up and attended the Commodore’s Ball at the Yacht Club. Our pictures on Facebook made it look like a fairy tale weekend.
What people didn’t see was the sadness hidden beneath the surface. Saturday, August 30, was the one-year anniversary of the death of our beloved niece, Meg, who died tragically from her addiction. We were missing my mom whose absence has been so magnified through the summer. Saturday afternoon we held Dede Boutique, sorting and dividing Mom’s baubles and costume jewelry.
The weekend was lived as both fairy tale and tragedy. We visited Meg’s and Mom’s ashes, prayed, and hugged. My sister (Meg’s mom) and I got our nails done – toes painted in Meg-like fashion, fingers painted in Mom-like fashion. We attended the ball on Saturday evening with a desire to lean into life and look forward, rather than dwelling on the grief that still lived in our hearts. All the girls wore a piece of Mom’s jewelry.
Life is filled with joy and sadness. We smile and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Our joys get plastered all over Facebook, while the sadness gets hidden in our private journals. That’s human nature- who wants to wallow publicly and bring everyone else down around them?
Don’t let the seemingly perfect Facebook pictures fool you. We all live somewhere between the Fairy Tale and the Tragedy. It’s good to remember this time and time again when we see everyone’s happy posts and photos.
We do well to live authentically, honoring the blessed messiness in our own lives, as well as in the lives of others. Meg’s final Facebook post contained the following quote: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
I offer a blessing for everyone reading this:
May you know that you are not alone;
May you have the strength to lean into your joys amidst your struggles;
May you discover a gentleness to hold the good and bad together;
May you remember that you are loved.