There are moments I step back and look at life and wonder when it got so heavy - so hard for people that I love.
And then I look around me and see people who seem to somehow be immune to the hard, and I wonder when their hard is going to hit, and how bad it will be, because it will hit. That's about the only guarantee we have in life.
I have been accused of being cynical - too cynical. Perhaps I've expressed my view on the purpose of life to the wrong people one too many times.
If you believe we're on this earth for a purpose, and that we all have a mission to fulfill and lessons to learn you probably also believe that there will be trials and hard things.
I believe we're here for a reason, and that yes, we do have a mission to fulfill, but that life is a never-ending trial, with moments of peace and happiness to give us the break from hard that we so deserve.
I don't think that's cynicism.
I think it's facing reality head on - knowing that it's hard but being able and willing to find the peace, because it's there.
God loves us too much to not give us that peace, even if we can only find it in little pieces.
I found out last week that a friend of mine has had her cancer return for the third and final time. She won't overcome the cancer this time, and she's determined to spend the last months of her life finding the beauty around her.
My sweet friend who lost her little girl a few weeks ago is heart broken and I read her blog every day and shed tears for her heartache.
Another friend sent me this text yesterday: "4 kids in 2 days (3 yesterday) that I knew passed away. And then we put our dog down on Wednesday. Chris' friend's wife passed away yesterday and I will most likely find out tomorrow if my sister has cancer. I think I am done for a while."
Three of her four daughters have life-threatening medical conditions, and she spends every day of her life caring for them and giving 110% to that care.
My brother just spent 45 minutes in my office, talking to me about the hard that his family is going through right now.
My amazing sister and my dearest friend want nothing more than to be mothers, and they do everything they can to make that a reality, and yet, for now, the longing and ache is still there for them, and I wish I could change that.
Every time I turn around I hear another story, another burden that someone has been asked to carry.
Yesterday I said to my sisters that I felt like it was time that God gave everyone a month long break from hard, because we all deserved it.
I have this quote on my office wall at work:
"Standing in the light doesn't require a sturdy spine, just a courageous soul willing to turn and face the sun."
Can I tell you what it is that gives me the courage to stand and face the sun?
Plain and simple.
Everything about my daughter shouts peace, and love, and calm.
My heart is filled to overflowing because of Emily.
She eases the burdens, lessens the ache, and fills my world with light.
The sting of all hard things is dulled because of Emily.
With all of my heart I feel like Emily is God's gift to me to help me make it through the hard.
Ironic, because it's Emily's life that introduced me to the hardest of my hard.
Emily makes me smile.
She makes me laugh.
She fills my heart with joy.
She gives my life meaning, and she makes me want to live, and find the beauty in all things.
More than anything else, Emily is evidence of God's love, and with that evidence I can do anything.
I'm willing to share - if you need that evidence, if you need proof that God is there, loving us through all of it - I'm more than willing to share my sweet Emily ... her life, and her joy ... because I truly believe that's the reason she and her perfectly broken little heart came into this world.