It is absolutely gorgeous outside today. A much appreciated break from the otherwise gloomy and grey last couple days. After getting Audrey down for her post-church nap, I went for a walk. I’ve been trying to walk as much as I can lately. Its serving multiple purposes. 1) I’m getting to get out of the house and enjoy the warmer spring weather, 2) its nice exercise, and 3) It gives me time to clear my head. I was thinking about how after Audrey was born I was so focused on what I may or may not be doing right or wrong as a parent, that I never thought much about what I was doing or feeling as a person. I was just surviving motherhood and grieving my mom. Oh, and making sure my dad didn’t have another stroke. Those first probably 3 months after Audrey Nole made her debut are a blur. I think that’s God’s gift to new parents… otherwise we might never do it again. This time around, I’m not in a daze from the newborn hours and stress. I’m certainly feeling in a bit of a fog most days, but its not the same. I think that because I’m finally starting to feel like a person again and not a surgery patient, I’m thankful for the opportunity to get out and get moving. 

So I left the house, music blaring, dog on leash, and headed up to the capitol. Its the place that Audrey and I go almost every day in the warmer months. Its the place that is the landmark that tells us we’re home. Its the place in this city that lets me see all of God’s beautiful, raw, wild creation, while sitting in the immaculately groomed tamer version of nature. It is the place that we held George Mason’s memorial service and celebration. 

I hadn’t really given it much thought before this afternoon, but it is the place that I planned to take George to whenever he was healthy enough to leave the NICU. I imagined packing up a wagon with lunch supplies and a blanket, wrapping my sweet son in a carrier, and holding Audrey’s hand as we walked up to picnic under the cherry trees and admire the beautiful mountains in the distance. Adam and I don’t love the wild west and its plethora of outdoor activities to do, but those capitol grounds are about as close to my happy place as I can get in this city. It has become one of Audrey’s favorite places (she asks to go there by name) and I always assumed it would be the same for George Mason. 

As I rounded the first corner of the circle I saw the place where we gathered to celebrate George Mason on February 17. On that day it was raining and cold. We had picked that place because watching sunset from that particular place is really, truly, life giving. On that day, there was no sunset. As I walked by that particular place today, I felt all these things that I hadn’t even thought about before right then. There was a man with a large, DIY looking, bubble maker and there were kids running from every direction chasing these gigantic floating bubbles. The sun was hitting them in just the right way and they looked like floating rainbows; such a symbol of God’s love. That place was full of life. It was full of children laughing and playing. 

Adam and I have walked by that place with Audrey so many times in the last 6 weeks but for some reason today it struck me and I was sad. There were people all over the capitol grounds today. So many families with their littles dressed in their Easter best, laughing, playing, and not-so-gracefully posing for the pictures their parents will deeply cherish for years to come. Maybe it hit me today, instead of any of the other days we’ve been there, because of the precious hustle and bustle of life that had overtaken those otherwise quiet grounds? Maybe today the levity of all those families juxtaposed with the solemn memories from February 17 were so stark that it touched my heart in a way I hadn’t experienced it before now? Whatever it was, it made me think about the words shared during that service.  “God’s love is so great, that it conquered death. God’s love is so great that he sent Jesus to become an infant, to experience the pain of our world, to die on a cross, and be raised from the dead so that death could no longer claim supremacy in this world.” (Thomas Warmath)

I needed to hear those words on February 17, as hard as that day and that service was, and apparently I needed to be reminded of them again today. As I finished my walk, I thanked God for that place, those grounds. I thanked Him for the wonderful memories that my little family has there. I thanked Him for the person who tamed His creation in such a way that speaks so beautifully to my soul. I thanked Him for George Mason’s life. I thanked Him for giving me the privilege of being George Mason’s mama, for those 16 hours on earth, but for the rest of my life. I thanked Him for sending His son to conquer death so that nothing can separate me from His love.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39