It is the middle of February, which means that we’re crossing over to the light, sort of.
Every morning, the sun peeks over the eastern horizon a few minutes earlier, and in the evening, it hovers in the western sky a bit longer. This is good. Light is a precious commodity, as far as I’m concerned. When I work at my desk, I use a “happy light” which I’ve discovered makes me a little less maudlin and moody. Some days, I stop what I’m doing and hold my face close to it. The dog watches me, concerned that I might be flying too close to the sun. Then she pesters me because she’s tired of being cooped up and needs more exercise. I pat her on her silky head. Me, too, I tell her. Me, too. And we take a walk.
Historically, the people I love always seem to break bones or get really sick in February. My sister is a musician. She tells me that she plays for more funerals for older folks in February than any other month. She and I have decided that this is because while people buck up through the holidays and hold it together through January, they must see February staring them blankly in the face and think, “Good grief” and decide it’s a good time to walk toward the light. This is why, when the calendar flips, I hold my breath and hope I’m wrong about February. That the sad, crazy, painful things I associate with the month have been flukes. Just coincidences.
But here I am again, in the middle of February, and I’ve seen things. Sacred, mystical things. Hard, beautiful, things. I’ve talked an awful lot about exactly where heaven “is” with a Kindergartener. I have watched a pop-up village of friends and family arrive and embrace that Kindergartener, his sister and his mother as they are fed, and held, and loved through such a hard thing as saying goodbye. And I have been changed by it.
He was a 43-year-old transplant recipient. He received the gift of two new lungs and then, two additional years of life. Two more years of Nerf fights and bike rides, holidays and memories. “There will be miracles” is written on a sign on their living room wall. I must have read that sign a million times in four days while I prayed for the one I wanted, but here’s the thing. We don’t get to custom design the miracles we receive, but if we are fortunate and brave, the miracles we need are granted. As I said, I’ve seen things.
The miracle might be taking a breath. And another, and another.
It might be a hand to hold. A sweet story told.
Sometimes the miracle is faith. Sometimes it is hope. Sometimes it is light.
Always it is love.
Especially during the times when we need it the most.