The Bigger Picture


Is it cheesy to cry while writing your own book? I confess that it’s happened two times this week! At one point, the scene from Romancing the Stone  came to mind. You know the part in which Joan Wilder (played by Kathleen Turner) is typing out the last page of the novel she’s writing and sobs “The End”? Other than the part about her holding her cat (mine lives only outdoors and hates to be held), that was me. Nose blowing and everything. Really?? It seemed a little much, even to me.

I wondered if that was good, meaning maybe it would be moving for others to read as well, or did it mean that I’m just a sappy emotionalist ready to erupt into tears over anything? After some honest (I hope) introspection, I came to this conclusion.

Sometimes the situations in life that we live through are truly more traumatic than we might realize when we experience them. I mean, we still continue living because no matter how difficult some things are, life goes on. But our emotions seem to stay in the moment, so at any point that we “relive” the circumstances by telling them, thinking about them or in this case, writing about them, the same emotions we felt at the time can rise up and overtake us as if we were in the situation again. It seems like the more we deal with the situation, the less the intensity of those emotions, and that’s good, but if we haven’t taken the time to address our feelings about something, they wait around patiently looking for an outlet.

My sobbing began as I recounted the scene of Brendan and me at the airport when he was leaving here after his one and only visit. It had been an amazing two weeks of him meeting and spending a couple of days with each of my three oldest kids and my brother’s family, meeting my parents and asking them for my hand in marriage, and spending time with close friends. We packed so much traveling and relationship into those days! God brought us to a whole new level in our relationship so when we sat in San Jose at the airport without a clue as to what to do next or when we would see each other again, we were full of joy and grief.

At first I didn’t remember it, and as I wrote that I didn’t remember, it came flooding back to me and I did. I remembered the look in Brendan’s eyes, the smell of him, and the taste of his kisses, the words we couldn’t say and how we tried to say something positive. And as I wrote and it rushed back into my mind, the tears began to fall and then pour, and I realized just how hard it all had been. “Oh, God!” I sobbed on the way home after watching Brendan walk away through security. “What are You doing with us???”

The second time I cried was while reading a section that Brendan has written for the book (it’s to be a joint effort). He related how he couldn’t go back to work after his wife died because it’s where he got the call about her, and because he felt like everyone there didn’t know what to say to him when he returned. I didn’t know that even though we’ve talked so much about that day, and I felt crushed for him all over again. Devastated, even though it’s been years now for both of those situations.

God is good, and we have obviously seen his hand in all of this; each individual set of circumstances has a place in a much bigger picture. And yet even though the big picture is great, the smaller events are huge in their moment, and the emotions they evoke are real, valid and sometimes all encompassing. I love that abundance of life means experiencing all of it. I hated how I felt every time Brendan and I said goodbye. It took the first year of our marriage for me to be okay being apart from him. But I would never give up the big picture of what we have and will have because of the pain of any of the pieces.

I guess that’s not so cheesy after all.


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