I used to hate November. It smelled of death.
In November 1994, my friend Melissa’s mom died of cancer. Melissa was only motherless for two years. In November 1996, Melissa died in a car accident, days after the anniversary of her mother’s death.
Four more years and another dear friend, Joe, died. It was another car accident, within the first two weeks of this dreaded month.
I learned to ball up my fists and wait. Who would November take out this year? I cynically asked myself. I assumed it was only a matter of time before death aimed straight for that month and took another loved one away.
I felt I had little choice but to loathe and dread November. What choice did I have? Until one day that tiny voice somewhere within asked me if I wanted to keep hating this month. It suggested so audaciously that maybe I didn’t want to hate entire months or days, that, in my faith tradition, all time belonged to God. And God made everything good in the end.
I took the bait. Okay. I don’t want to hate November anymore. Give me November back.
I had to wait five, maybe six years before I discovered what getting the month back might look like. After Josh and I married, we wanted to have at least one year without worrying about a baby. But as soon as the year was up, I wanted that baby. Now.
Nothing. Month after disappointing month went by. No pregnancy.
Then in March the next year, two lines showed up in pink. Pregnant! I calculated the due date date: November 8. Two days before the death of my friend, Joe.
John ended up coming a week later, November 15. And maybe that was better. Smack in the middle of the most worstest time of my year.
And that is how, in 2010, God gave me November back. What was once a time committed purely to mourning and grief had been turned into a celebration. A birth where death had lived, stealing and destroying.
Now my remembrance of my loved ones who went ahead of me is drips with redemption and hope, where before it felt so empty.
What day or month or season do you need back? You don’t need to be cynical and remain cautious and wounded when a painful season comes back around the sun. Acknowledge your pain and give yourself room to grieve. And when you do, you will make room to breathe in the goodness and hope that awaits you. I promise it’s waiting.