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Obstacle course

I spent this morning before work creating an obstacle course around the back, for Addie’s 8th birthday party tomorrow. Friends will arrive, and we’ll gather for a fire, marshmallows, and a timed sprint through this ridiculous, ramshackle bucket-and-pipe course.

The day itself tomorrow will be a bit of an obstacle course.

Not only will seven eight year-olds, plus my own four kids, require hosting and guiding through the proceedings of a birthday party, Kendra will need to step out near the end. She’ll be attending a memorial service for a childhood friend who passed away unexpectedly.

An obstacle like grief doesn’t announce itself in advance; it just shows up, and leaves it up to you to figure out how to move through it.

What obstacles are you moving through right now?

Are they of your own design? Did you see it coming? Or is it taking everything you’ve got to stay balanced, keep on your toes, and keep moving forward?

I look back on the week this has been: the delicate dance of travel and emotions and Christmas and kids and work and relationships and grief and parties and all the other things that would never make it to a public blog like this, and I admit that I don’t feel safe, or comfortable, or confident or sure-footed. I feel short of breath. It’s a course that is challenging, and it’s tiring, even in the midst of great joy and lovely surprises. We are moving rapidly through an obstacle course that is only partially of our own design.