I have, like much of the rest of America been watching the ever-popular show “This is Us.” Each week, the world has waited with eager anticipation to see this ordinary American family make something beautiful out of this thing called life.
We’ve watched as little mistakes became teachable moments, mostly between parent and child. We’ve seen siblings love each other and hate each other, (which we can all relate am i right?). We’ve seen a marriage filled with so much genuine love, that also went through moments where love had to be a hard, fought-for choice, because emotions screamed otherwise. Watching this show has been a breathe of fresh air in so many ways as the writers and creators of this story were able to captivate millions.
And they did this through reality. The reality that life is this tragically beautiful thing. It’s a combination of the sweetest, magical moments we jot down as “those memories to share with our grandkids” and the ruthless curveballs that leave us struck out, defeated, and question why we are even in the batter’s box.
Very early on in the show, we find out that this family lost their dad, but we don’t know when or how. In the latest two episodes (of season 2 for reference), we finally see the climax appear and the aftermath revealed.
Lie through my teeth is what I want to do right here. I want to grin and tell you that watching these last two episodes wasn’t like watching a rerun of my own life 13 years ago. Itching to not confess that after watching the literal heart wrench of the father’s death, that I felt like I just watched a mirror of my past through a television show.
With some obvious detail changes, the premise remains parallel as tears streamed down my face in remembrance.
Remembering when my mom came into the living room of our home with eyes drained of tears and a face tired of anguish as she faced her three unassuming children. Reliving the nightmare of hearing the words “your father has died” and fighting to face the reality that, that phrase was somehow true. Running scenarios through my head of how this could have been different and maybe this was my fault somehow. Ruined by the pain-staking thought of a life I was forced to live now, without my dad. Rigorously trying to be the strong one, seeing it as my responsibility as the oldest child and the daddy’s girl. Wrecked.
It was rough. Oh so rough. As much as the sorrow shared between me and the screen brought back the shattering memory of loss like it was yesterday, it also brought an unimaginable hope.
While recounting and recognizing the years of hurt, healing, sorrow, and joy that trickled on in the aftermath of this life altering event, I also rejoiced. Rejoicing that our story was somehow not over and we all are getting better, too. Much like the Pearson family, we were (and still are) so bruised. Today, this is us. This is my family. This is our story. We aren’t alone. We are not over. We are united together.
The world in its inevitable brokenness didn’t break us even with its cruelest intentions. Because even though the sorrow surely lasted through the night, days, and at times felt like even years, we found joy. Joy came.
Seeing the mom in the story (Rebecca) be coached on her strength by a long time friend, tears began to swell as I saw my own mom. The longer life goes on, the more I see in my mother the clear God-given capacity to love and move forward for our family. She did everything she possibly could to give us the life that wouldn’t be marked by tragedy, but renewed with hope. I know in the show they don’t hold to any particular faith belief, but this is where our healing looks different. It’s by grace alone we have made it to here. And here isn’t this place of arrival per say. Here is just where we are right now. Which is okay. We are okay. We are living this life with everything we’ve got. For me, my sister, my brother, and my mom, that all looks extremely different. My mom still being the most selfless woman I know. My sister being the brains and multi-talented one of the family. My brother having so much drive and integrity in the hard work he does for a living. 13 years later and we are living wildly different lives, but my goodness we are doing it. We are living. And we are trying.
And in Jesus Christ, we have joy. We found joy. We found hope and the greatest strength and love, to carry on.
So I have no idea where you are at in your own story. I presume somewhere along the way, as we all are.
As you lean into today, and tomorrow, and the next day, hold fast to the fact that life is measured far less by a few big moments of brilliance and measured most by many little moments of faithfulness.
This thing called life is a messy one and it will work to pull anything and everything out and away from us. My greatest joy was when I discovered that this world could have it all, but just give me Jesus and I’d be okay. Not okay as in “I’ll never suffer and things will always be peachy keen.” If that was true, then everything I wrote before that sentence about my own story was a lie.
Being okay meaning that He is constant regardless of the inconsistencies and ever-changing circumstances. And with clinging to Him, I could have life and life abundant, no matter what else occurred to try and take that away.
So ya this is us. For real. This is my life and my family kinda laid out bare for you. We are a work in progress. We are getting some things right and a lot of things wrong. We have some really great days and other days that we wish we could erase.
But we are giving this life everything we’ve got and I’m sure as heck proud of that, and I know my dad would be, too.
I share this all with you today not for a sympathy but for a symphony. A symphony of music and lyrics intertwined performing hope. And joy. They both came for me and my family. And Its coming for you to. So hold on. Be brave. Lean in. You don’t have to know the whole journey.
Just take the next step.
P.S. Much like Jack Pearson, my dad was pretty stinking spectacular. We love and miss you so much daddy.
In Great Love,