In My Deepest Sighs

by Leah Clouse

There was a time fairly recently in which this song was the best prayer I could muster. Truly, I just wanted to be okay. I wanted my life and my world to feel okay, for even just a moment. Paul has mentioned in broad strokes about the difficulties we’ve faced in the last few years. Honestly, it feels as though this is the first time in 3 years I’ve had a minute to catch my breath. It started with the rise and fall of my beloved bakery and ended with the estrangement from a family member whose wounds, inflicted and received, could move even the hardest of hearts to sit and weep for a while. Which, unsurprisingly, is exactly what I’ve spent these 6 months away from her doing.

Friends, I’m broken. I’m so completely lost. This is by and large the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve thought that sentence a lot in the last calendar year. I thought it while bandaging my mother’s bleeding wrist and driving her to the Emergency room. I thought it while she screamed at me in hysterics when she realized we were admitting her to a facility for the emotionally unstable. I thought it as we embarked upon taking care of my 13 year old brother for the duration of her stay and the prayerful decision to allow her to come home to our house again. I thought it with every toxic word uttered in the subsequent 6 months in which she lived with us after. I thought it with every screaming match and I thought it when we finally asked them to leave. I thought it again when two months had passed by and we had to force them.

But not when I decided to cut ties. At that point my heart had grown hard and I knew what I needed… but now… Six months have passed and the decision burns with every reminder. For the first time in my adult life I live in the same city as my mother and yet we could not be farther away.

And so I wait. If you haven’t heard, it’s the hardest part. I wait for her to hold up her end of the bargain and start seeing someone so we can see someone together. It’s my contingency on the pursuit of a relationship and it. is. killing. me.

BUT, it’s the only way. I will not, cannot, have the same old relationship we once had and there are some wounds to heal before we can move forward.

In the meantime I’ve been pouring myself into a quiet life that is by all accounts enviable. Perfect job. Amazing husband. Beautiful home. Snuggly cats. I’ve begun baking again (for fun!). I have a full-fledged art studio in my house. I’ve made a new friend and have been building deeper relationships with some old ones.

So my question is this: How do we feel whole when there’s a part of our lives, no matter how small, in disarray? How do we move our hearts past the ache and enjoy all the rest? I can feel God swirling around my life and leaving His fingerprints in the most beautiful places. I’ve found him in the kind eyes of a friend and the deep hearty purr of my best friend with fur. I’ve found Him in my deepest sighs, and when I catch a glimpse of the opportunities He’s practically laid at my feet. So so many good things.

The Clouses have some big plans cooking for 2013. I’m excited, but there’s always an ache in my soul for the broken parts.

Kintsugi is the japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with gold powder. The end result is a piece that is stronger and more beautiful than before it was broken. Some even intentionally break their most valuable pottery in order to obtain more interesting and lovely pieces.

I have, in some ways, intentionally broken my relationship with my mom by deciding not to pursue a relationship with her until some changes are made. It is my hope that the golden cracks will make us both better in the end. One can hope, right?

Leah  This is Leah Clouse. She tries on new ideas and expierences like like others try on outfits. She’s a painter, a nanny, and a baker. Less notably, she’s a doubter, a worrier, and a wanderer. Wife to Paul and mother hen to the Clousey animal brood Ego, Karma and Cornelius.

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