What compelled me to take my mother’s mystery houseplant, I don’t recall. Its smooth, reed-like fronds grew outward from a single, papery stalk in the shape of a fan. My mother kept it in a plastic pot – the kind in which you might bring home a tomato plant from a nursery. Nothing showy. And the plant wasn’t either. “Give it a little water once a week,” Mom said, forgetting what it was called. “It blooms once every year or so, but if you’re patient, the flowers are spectacular.”
The holidays are before us. The electricity is back on after last week’s powerful storm. And yet my heart is grieving. Saturday night, my family stood outside clapping and shouting “Thank you!” to the line and tree workers who reconnected us with the world. But the next day that same connection brought news of 26 worshipers shot dead in a Texas church.
Living on the outskirts of our little Maine town, I was uncertain whether to let my 4-year-old son, Ezra, ride home from preschool on the bus. A typically 10-minute drive for me would take 45 for him . Plus he is so little that when he sat on the bus for orientation, the only way to know he was there was by standing in the aisle directly over him. My anxious mama heart quaked with uncertainty.
Within religious circles, there is a common mythology that as long as you are good enough or have enough faith, God will give you whatever you want. But what about when he doesn’t? That’s the question author Ann Swindell asks in her recently released memoir, Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want (Tyndale, 2017). In it, Swindell, a St. Louis mom and college writing instructor, shares her struggle with trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder that causes her to chronically pull out her eyelashes and eyebrows.