My tulips sprouted this week.
This shouldn’t be that significant… I mean, it’s March, most tulips sprout in March.
But my heart sank a little when I pulled into my driveway, and I saw the little green stocks peeking out of the ground.
Andrew’s dad and sister planted these tulip bulbs for us last fall. I didn’t know that you planted tulip bulbs in the fall. But they knew, and they told me that the sprouts would pop out in the spring, March-ish.
I remember thinking that the spring seemed impossibly far away at the time.
I remember then hoping, praying, that Andrew would live to see the tulips bloom.
He passed away a day later.
On the day that the tulips were planted, I called my dad, because when life was unbearable, I always called my dad.
I told him that I was exhausted. I told him that I didn’t know how much longer I could do this, but that I was afraid of what the ending would look like. I was at the end of my rope, but I couldn’t bare the thought of letting go and facing the possibility of an ending that didn’t go the way that I wanted.
“Baby,” he replied, “I don’t know what’s going to happen here. I don’t know where or who you’re going to be at the end of all of this. But this is going to resolve one way or another. There’s going to be an end to it one way or another. And no matter what, we’re going to find a way to carry you through. Life always resolves.”
I didn’t want the resolution that I got.
I rejected it the moment that he said this, and I rejected it the moment that it happened. I remember thinking that it was impossible to find resolve any way other than a miracle. I remember thinking that I would never find resolution in a world where my husband dies at 25.
It was about two weeks later that I recognized it. The memorial was over. The people who rushed to my side had returned to their lives, and I had returned to my own, navigating my new normal.
I went for a run to clear my mind a bit, and that’s when I recognized the ease of my own shoulders, a feeling that I hadn’t felt for over a year.
For the first time in months, I wasn’t worried, or stressed, or rushing through my run to get home, back to his side. For the first time in months I had no demanding pressures, no impossible responsibilities, looming over me.
I was aching. I was hurting. My life was raw, the pain inescapable. But I was okay. It wasn’t the resolve that I prayed for, but it was resolve all the same, and it was something that I could build on.
Life always resolves.
I’ve since said it time and time again. I’ve said it to my friends as they face stressful seasons. I’ve said it in multiple blogs. And I said it right back to my dad the very last time I spoke to him before his battle with COVID ultimately led him down the same path to paradise that Andrew took just a month and a half earlier.
Beautiful girl, I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know who or where you’ll be at the end of it all, but I can tell you with complete confidence- everything resolves.
That doesn’t mean that we always get the resolution that we want. It doesn’t mean that the resolution isn’t painful.
It just means that even after these intense shifts, the shattering of a world we know and love, life can fall back into place somehow.
It means that life finds a way to move forward, we find a way to move forward, even if we never move on.
It means that the tulips planted in the fall will bloom in the spring, even when the winter between was absolutely brutal.
It means that we serve a God of resolution.
It only takes a moment for your whole life to shift. I addressed this last week. But what I didn’t address is how often our minds force us to return to these moments against our will.
Sometimes, my mind forces me to return to my husband’s last seconds on this earth. And naturally, I follow my own story-line in that. That’s what I know. I know the path that I took when life forced us into two different directions, because I inhabit the earth, and therefore, the earth, my story, my memory, my pain, is what I most naturally recall.
These thoughts are excruciating, because the world is cruel.
So recently, I’ve chosen to stop following my own story-line, and instead, I focus on Andrew’s. I think about where he went, what he did, when his soul left that battered body.
I imagine him taking that step into eternity and pausing. I imagine him closing his eyes and taking biggest, fullest, deepest breath possible.
I imagine his moment of complete resolution.
My husband can breathe again, however that looks up there. His earthly lungs, the ones that were so brutally attacked by a world that allows cancer, and tumors, and destruction, are gone. He escaped the body that betrayed him. His new body never will.
When life gets hard, heavy, whenever I feel this organic urge toward anger, and whenever I feel like this anger is unfairly directed toward my maker, I think about Andrew’s first breath in eternity.
I think about Andrew’s complete resolution.
I think about my dad’s complete resolution.
I think about eternity, a place where pain will not follow. I think about these perfect bodies that are no longer restricted and beaten by the earthly evils around us. That is the resolution that all who believe have the privilege of experiencing one day.
How I could I possibly be mad at a God who promises this?
How could I possibly be mad at a God who gave my husband a perfect body after a 4-year battle against the imperfections of his earthly one?
How could I possibly be mad at a God who removed my dad from the lonely confines of a COVID floor and surrounded him with so many of the people that his broken heart has so desperately longed for?
How could I possibly be mad at a God who can grow tulips out of seasons of tragedy?
Andrew’s resolution was complete healing after enduring four years of drastic decomposition in a broken body.
My dad’s resolution was the divine and incredible family reunion that he has dreamed of since the day that he said his first goodbye to a loved one.
One day, my life’s resolution will resemble theirs.
But today, my resolution is simply a life that I still enjoy existing in. It’s the hope of a tomorrow that can still be kind, even after so many cruel yesterdays.
Today, my resolution is a few sweet tulip stems, and today, that is more than enough.