Dear Hannah, Happy 14th Birthday


Dear Hannah,

Would you believe me if I told you that subtractions are demanding? The additions are demanding in their own way…somehow today I want to write to you from a season of subtractions.

Arithmetic operations on an old chalkboard

The other day your brother was tapping his pencil, rather fast on the desk and there was his math book open in front of him,  he was borrowing and subtracting. He didn’t have enough to take away 8 from 6. So he borrowed or so he decided as the rhythm waned for a few seconds before it picked up again.

The pencils continued to tap and the rhythm was familiar. I thought of borrowing  and the reality that I couldn’t have possibly taken away 8 from 6 myself… had I not borrowed.

The last birthday cake you cut had 6 candles. Today your sister blew the 14th candle for you. It was 6 with you and 8 without you. These 8 years without you has demanded more life from the 6 with you.

I didn’t have enough when each year more is demanded from the less I have. So I borrowed. I borrowed from the Lord strength and grace to endure. I also borrowed from the community I was part of. Sure enough in no time I was rounded and in a better place to give.

“Its 14…” I said to myself,  when the pencil tap snapped me back to the homeschool table. “6 with and 8 without, its 14. ”

“huh?” he asked me, “I’m subtracting mom, see I need to borrow.”

“Yes,  son, we don’t look at the equation that demands more from less and give up on it. We are the ones who has learned that we borrow to make us  stronger. We let it be taken away from us again and again. We remain with what we have. Even when we lack, we are in a good place. We are the units, the ones. The tens and the hundreds are always around us. Out of their fullness we can borrow. We can borrow, we can let ourselves be rounded to be given away again.”

It is all working out an answer at the bottom of the line. An eternal weight of glory. All this momentary lack, this momentary affliction.

2016-05-30 17.14.02

Losing you was merciless, but the losses that followed were immense and perhaps made you death look less threatening and less demanding. Your death taught us to borrow life and round off again until the next big hit or the next loss took away more than we could give. It has never stopped…

This is life. Losses and grief are part of this journey. So are the joyful blessings that are added in too.  There are couple of comforts or constants though that I have learned to fall back on:

  • Every time we are demanded, we are also rounded off to be more than what is demanded. We are always in a place to borrow without failure. God who is abundant and rich in mercy never leaves us in a place of lack. All it takes is a reaching out. Out of His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace John 1:16.
  • There is also another constant that I can rely on. We are only in the units place or the “ones.” But, we are certainly not the only ones. The hundreds and thousands are the clouds around us who have made it and counting on us to finish well Hebrews 12:1. Sometimes we think we are the only ones and are thrown into despair. I have learned to look up and see the hundreds, just a handbreadth away, sometimes I borrow from the tens and hundreds, their  faith and their victory, always rounds me off.

So the next 365 days until your next birthday, know that your parents are fighting well, this fight of faith and teaching your siblings all about the additions and subtractions and how these are all deriving  a greater reality of answers that are perfectly right in the equation of eternal life.

We celebrate you watch here





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