Greetings to all. I do not even know where to start this morning. My heart is so cluttered with emotions that it is difficult to sort them all out because it is almost that they bleed into each other. When I asked myself, “What are you feeling today?” Nothing comes up, but that is not the case at all. The truth is I am feeling so much that I find myself just staring off into space wondering when this will all end.
We had a little get away weekend with the family this past weekend and it was nice to not be in the house but as we drove home yesterday afternoon Ali and I got into a “discussion.” It was not a fight, because it is a “discussion” that we have had numerous times over the course of our courtship and marriage, and it usually ends the same way ever time, her sad, me aggravated, but not with each other per say.
I had not cut the grass in over a week and my yard was starting to look like a hay field, so I decided to cut the grass when we got home. Cutting the grass is also a defense mechanism of mine, just to let you in a little secret about Charlie. Being an only child, a boy, and the “man” of the house when I was a kid one of my only duties was to cut the grass. We had this big Magnolia tree in our front yard, which by the way in my opinion Magnolia trees are from the devil because their leaves are so big and thick you cannot cut them with a lawn mower because they are still everywhere in the yard after being cut. Anyway, I used to rack the yard before cutting it, that way I did not have chopped up Magnolia leaves everywhere. Then I would cut the grass, edge the driveway and sidewalks and then sweep up. If I was really feeling dysfunctional I would weed the flowerbed or just completely dig it up, because I was going to “plant a new one.” Why are you telling me your grass cutting techniques, you might be asking yourself? Well, its because when I was a kid, the yard was the only thing I could control. I could not control my parents, I could not control my mother’s drinking, I could not control the creditors calling the house, but I could control the yard. There was an added bonus, it made everything on the outside look nice, symbolic? Completely!
Even to this day when my heart, my family, or my life feels out of control I will cut my grass. When I get finished I will sit in my backyard and look down the lines that I cut and relish in the beauty of order. The order of the lines that I made back and forth as I lined up the wheels of the lawn mower just right. Yesterday I had a little curve to my cutting technique which made me feel like I had some dimension, almost like a hill, in my backyard. After relishing in the fictitious order of my life for a while I went inside where Ali was in the process of bathing the kids. She was pulling them out of the tub and so I sat on the floor and dried there little bodies off and put them in their night clothes. They scurried off down stairs for their night time snack and Ali and I chatted up stairs for a minute while she folded clothes and put them away. She began to share about how overwhelmed she was with school starting this week and being the teacher who people felt the need to tata, for all you non-Louisianans "tata" means to comfort, or people who felt the need to compare some loss in their life to what we are going through. She just wept hard in my arms as I held her. We finished up our conversation and I went downstairs to find the kids contently watching their night time movie so I walked out backdoor and sat on the back step, where I do most of my thinking. I began crying because my heart was so heavy for my wife and kids, my shoulders are tired from bearing as much as I can of their load, but in that moment I prayed that I could take more and at the same time I prayed that God could begin to alleviate some of this heartache. I know that He will, but right now it is just so difficult. In the middle of my crying and praying, Dude swings open the backdoor and puts his arms around my neck and kisses me. He looked at me and asked, Dad, why are you crying? I told him that, “I just miss Cate, buddy” a phrase that they use often. Ella was not far behind him they both came and wrapped their little arms around my neck and hugged me as I cried and then Ella got in Dude’s way so he slapped her in the face and my prayer time was over and I had to then play daddy Doctor.
It is difficult times in the Cantrell house right now, for everyone. Your words of support are encouraging and your prayer is needed. If it looks like at times we are doing so well, it is only because our grass has just been cut if you know what I mean. So, please as I know you are, remain with us. I ask specifically that you pray for Ali as she begins this new school year. I ask that you pray for Ella as she begins Pre-K this year at her new school. I ask that you pray for Dude that as he starts his new school year, without Cate or Ella that it be a good one for him. Finally I ask that you pray for me, that I have the strength and wisdom to continue to carry and guide my family through this difficult time and not just have freshly cut grass. Much Love, The Cantrells
I had to come back and tell you all that after I wrote this blog I opened my facebook account and I kid you not this bible verse was in my inbox, coincidence, I think not!
He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. ... You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'" (2 Chronicles 20:15,17)