On Time & Resurrection


This year was such a rollercoaster. Really high highs, and very low lows. Several plot twists—a few we were prepared for, a few we weren’t. I’m disoriented, grateful, sad, hopeful, tired, restless.

When I started this year, I was really struggling at work. I had just been tossed into a new role, and was trying to find my way without much guidance or support. Somewhere in the middle of the year I felt like I found a rhythm, albeit a high-tempo, can’t stop no matter how tired or unsure you are, rhythm. It was a huge challenge that helped me grow in my professional life.

And then, plot twist, I got laid off.

We made big financial goals this year and succeeded at several of them – we PAID OFF a student loan, and we saved up for a REAL EUROPEAN VACATION that we always wanted to take and never thought we’d be able to. We faced a major medical emergency (Matt’s seizure in March) and we were able to take it in stride, financially speaking.

Oh yeah—MATT HAD A SEIZURE for the first time in nearly 20 years, and for a few heart-wrenching seconds I thought he was going to die, but he didn’t, and we slowly found a new normal. My goofy, kind, handsome, loving husband is still with me. To say I’m grateful would be the understatement of a lifetime. For nearly six months between March and September our schedule was a monster because he wasn’t allowed to drive, which meant that I drove us everywhere—physical therapy and doctors appointments, work, errands—but I can honestly say that all of the time stuck in a car in rush hour traffic strengthened our bond. The fact that we survived such an unexpected obstacle made our Europe trip all the sweeter when we finally got to go.

My favorite moment of this whole year was sitting in a tiny, closet-sized bar in Hamburg, Germany, while my husband talked to the locals about how his father’s family emigrated to America from Hamburg in the ’50s. We got tipsy and walked backed to our hotel room full of joy, high on life.

And then we tried to unsuccessfully to get pregnant this fall. I know most people don’t talk openly about this stuff and I normally don’t either, but I need to today. Because not talking about it has somehow made the gaping hole in my heart feel even bigger than it is. I finally felt ready for the adventure of parenthood, after years of processing my mother’s death and learning how to take care of myself and be an adult. I dared to name what I wanted out loud, dared to hope that it was finally time. And then everything fell apart. There was this week, around the end of October and beginning of November, where I thought I was pregnant. And then I took a test, and realized I wasn’t. My body was just faking me out, I guess. And then a couple weeks later, I lost my job.

The end of this year felt like a cruel joke.

And it has felt like a return to a truth that I wrestle with: time is a circle. Life is a series of seasons, some harder than others. Nature, even time itself, is a rollercoaster. The bad and the good both come around, again and again.

I started this decade camped out on my mother’s deathbed. In the intervening years, other parts of myself died. Some were reborn. I grew and I changed and I learned how to hope again. 

A resurrection that fundamentally shifted my understanding of resurrection itself.

I always thought of it as a return to a previous state: the dead thing becomes undead.

But that’s not exactly it, is it?

Something dies, decomposes, and eventually something new may emerge. 

It’s not the same flower coming back over and over again.

It’s the same plant, but a new bud every time.

A descendant of what was, a fruit born from seasons and soil.

Familiar but different.

An ordinary miracle, if such a thing exists.

It’s a painful process, and I feel like I’m going through it again—a death of a plan. A hard winter that I know how to weather, because I’m from Michigan, but right now I resent it. I don’t want to be good at this part. I don’t want to slow down. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to start over.

But if I’m being truthful, and today I am, I don’t want to be the person I used to be, either. I don’t want to return to who I was a decade ago. The process hurts, but it’s vital part of growing as a person. There are no shortcuts.

And so I’m in the midst of an excruciating season, but I know that another one is on its way.

Someday, a resurrection.

Maybe the same hope, but a new plan.

The Economics of Happiness

I’m unemployed.

For the first time in my adult life, I have no job to go to.

I got laid off from my job a week ago in a series of company-wide layoffs in which “nonessential roles” were eliminated to “keep pace with client expectations in a rapidly changing economy and technological landscape.” Or some bullshit like that.

I get that it happens to people every day. I grew up in mid-Michigan in the 90’s—company layoffs were as seasonal as lake-effect snow and spring mud. It wasn’t like this 100% of the time, but the years when both of my parents were gainfully employed were few and far between, and that was in addition to the bitter reality that my mother had terminal cancer. Financial instability was the norm.

My life up until recently wasn’t much better off. I graduated at the height of the Recession and although I was one of the lucky few who found a full-time job in my field, my wages barely covered basic life expenses, let alone my mountain of student debt. Even when I was employed by the alma mater that gave me my degree. (side-eye emoji)

And then about 18 months ago, I found a new job, and first of all, it was an amazing opportunity to grow my skills in my chosen field (digital marketing) and work with really smart, kind colleagues who let me learn so much from them. But also? That salary changed my fucking life. I started saving money for the first time ever—not just a couple hundred dollars that hung out in my account for a month or two; the kind of savings that could buy a house one day. I PAID OFF A STUDENT LOAN. I was able to be generous with loved ones who needed financial help and causes I care about. Matt and I saved up for a vacation for the first time in our ten years of marriage. We started trying to get pregnant.

And then I lost that job.

I keep thinking about that scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” where Harry Burns is sitting with his friend Jess at a football game, absentmindedly doing the wave along with the crowd while explaining that his wife has just left him.

“And do you know, I knew?” says Harry, “I knew the whole time that even though we were happy it was just an illusion and that one day she would kick the shit outta me.”

It wasn’t necessarily that I knew I would lose my job in a company-wide layoff less than two years after I started. It’s just that when I was sitting at a cafe in Hamburg, Germany, with my husband a few months ago, on our first real vacation, drinking Duckstein and eating schnitzel in the early autumn sun, I was so acutely aware of how perfect the moment was, how grateful I was to be there, how lucky we were to be in a position to take this trip, how it never would have happened if I hadn’t gotten this job. And how we could lose all of in a moment.

I never, not even in my happiest moments, lost my fear that the stability and happiness was an illusion, and one day it would kick the shit out of me.

Being grateful and aware of your blessings and privilege is one thing; feeling like the grim reaper is quietly following you around and standing in the corner of every happy moment is another. I’ve spent years in therapy trying to detangle all of the trauma of growing up in a financially unstable home with a parent who was terminally ill, only to have the exact thing I was afraid of—losing my job—happen.

I worked and I planned and I saved and I therapied and I vacationed and I still, after all of that, lost my job and landed back at square one.

Yesterday I fielded a call from a recruiter for what is 100% a pyramid scheme to get unsuspecting young professionals to sell cable TV to innocent shoppers just trying to buy toilet-paper at Walmart, and another call from an online apparel company in which all of the models look like Tomi Lahren in a Hallmark Christmas movie for neo-nazis.

And it’s hard for me not to feel like it was my fault, for believing that I could be happy in the first place, or for daring to say out loud that I wanted anything at all.

I know I will be fine. I have a great resume full of amazing experiences and I’ve already interviewed with a recruiter for a staffing agency (a real one, not a scammy one) and there is an opportunity out there, waiting for me.

But right now, today, I’m resentful and tired.

Not just because job searching is stressful and I may be facing a pay cut or a substantial lapse in regular income, but because as a woman in the workplace, a job change in this stage of my life resets the clock on how long it may take before I’m in a financial position to pursue all of the other things I hoped to do in my early 30’s, like have a baby. Buy a house. Pursue a master’s degree.

It’s not even just about my own needs and my own dreams, but about the systemic economic injustice that exists for all women. Because we make pennies on the dollar compared to our male colleagues. Because when healthcare is tied to our employment, we have to be almost supernaturally strategic about waiting until we’re eligible for benefits to try to have a baby, but get pregnant soon enough that they won’t legally be able to eliminate our jobs when Q4 sales take a nose-dive. Because you can’t admit that you’re trying to get pregnant to anyone at the office without risking that promotion you’ve worked so hard to earn. Because maternity leave, in the United States of America in the Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand Nineteen, is still not federally mandated. Because employers can still choose not to cover medical benefits for our transgender siblings or fertility treatments for queer couples. Because even if they do get healthcare coverage through their employer, for black and brown women, that care is often subpar and life-threatening.

(Elizabeth Warren, if you’re reading this, please let me come work for your campaign.)

Anyway, if you need me, I’ll just be over here thinking about income inequality and the economics of happiness. And I guess, for the first time in quite awhile, writing. I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands.

Going Home.


The last time I went to visit your grave was two years ago. That Michigan summer was cool and rainy, the evening overcast and humid. I drove alone to the cemetery with a potted plant to place beside your headstone. But when I got out of the car I was greeted by a thick cloud of mosquitoes. Even through my jacket and leggings I could feel their stings. Frustrated, I turned around and dashed back into the car. I stared at the plot from my window for a few minutes before I turned the key in the ignition and drove away slowly.

Dad got married that summer. Jacob got married later that fall. We went home at Christmas but I didn’t come back to your graveside then either. It was a long time before I went home again. I said it was because we were trying to save money, and because we had too many other obligations. It’s not untrue, it’s just not the only truth.

The truth is you can never go home again.


It’s a breezy morning in April when I finally come back. The Monday after Easter. It’s my first trip home in a long time. We don’t stay in the house where I grew up. We don’t have the same big family gathering for holidays anymore. There are different places and new people and a whole life that we never imagined living when you left us, most of it good but all of it bittersweet.

I plant a tulip beside you.

The tears I thought weren’t there are on my cheeks suddenly, as if they never left me.

I am not fine.

I am fine.

The thing I thought would eat me alive has not, but I feel every tiny sting.

I come to you a version of myself that I’m not sure either of us recognize, but I’m all me just the same.

Hi, Mom. I missed you.

A Return.

Dear Blog,

You’ve seen me through so many changes in the past six and a half years. I was barely a college graduate when I started writing here. I was working two part-time jobs, as a hostess at a brunch restaurant and as a copywriter at my alma mater. I was completely in the dark about How To Be A Real Writer. I had no idea what a career might look like. I was terrified, because I had graduated in the middle of a national recession and didn’t even have internship experience. I don’t know how, but I survived that first year as a post-grad newly wed, living with my in-laws, working multiple part time jobs but still completely broke. I think, maybe, writing here was that flashlight that kept me walking through the darkness. It was a thing I could hold onto, something to light my way for the next few steps, and then the next few steps, and then the next few, just to keep me moving forward as a writer.

And then the next few years, it became a point of connection, a small but growing community of encouragement. I kept writing because it helped me find my people – the word nerds and faith seekers and fledgling feminists and creative dreamers like me. I had found full time work as a staff writer in a communications office, but this blog was my outlet, my safe space, to spread my creative wings. I was learning to write about my life, and that turned out to be a good thing, because when the storms came this blog was a life-raft. I was drowning in the grief of my mother’s death, but my blog people beckoned me back with comfort and encouragement.

I kept blogging, and it paved the way for new opportunities to share my words with other online communities. And in the years that followed, as I learned to cope with my new normal and articulate new hope for my future, the blog remained my constant source of motivation. It had brought me so far.

And then, slowly, I stopped writing here. At first it was about giving myself a chance to plant roots and build a new life in a new city. And then it was about hustling as hard as I could to make ends’ meet; the blog took a backseat to paying bills and buying groceries. And then it was about the fact that my site crashed, and it took several months (and a lot of help from my dear Sarah Joslyn) to recover my 6+ years of content. But even after we brought this blog back to life, there was something else holding me back. My silence was about being lost in a deep spiritual wilderness, where formulating words for a blog post felt impossible.

After years of writing about my life and my faith online, I reached a point where blogging a couple times a week through a faith crisis felt dishonest. I’ve always been that person that kept going when life was hard. I blogged through much of my mother’s illness; I was back online writing about her death merely two weeks after the fact. I was articulating my grief right in the raw midst of it. But three years later, I decided to stop trying so hard. To let myself be wordless in it. To let myself feel the unknown – the ineffable, unpredictable, unarticulated mystery of faith after trauma.

Did I even believe in God? Yes. No. Maybe. Yes. But I’m not sure how, or why, or what, or who.

I have felt that. And I have just as quickly felt that yes, I am a Christian, albeit an imperfect, indefinitely unchurched, perpetually exhausted one. A sweary, mad, cynical one.

Honestly, in my time away from blogging I have been a version of myself that I didn’t want to share online. Angry. Sad. Desperate. Defiant. Broke broke broke. Fresh out of fucks to give. Lonely. Depressed. Anxious. All the things I thought I was safe from becoming, when I was writing about grief three weeks after my mother’s death. Ashamed. I was ashamed. And then, eventually, I was relieved. Maybe even proud, for finally letting go. And I decided I didn’t owe anyone anything, so I could slip quietly offline, without having to explain.

I’m glad I did that. It felt like I finally gave up the illusion of being The Strong One, the Philosophical One, the Always Has Words to Say One.

My Aunt Beverly, the family therapist, always says, “You can be angry, just don’t build your house there.”

And she’s right. Of course, she’s right. I want to let myself feel all the real things, all the unbloggable things. But that’s not my home. I don’t need to dwell there forever. This blog, this is my home. My safe space. My flashlight, my way forward.

So I’m picking it up again. And while a lot of things have changed, it’s also true what they say: wherever you go, there you are. Six-almost-seven years later, I’m working two part time jobs. I’m still not sure How To Be A Real Writer. I’m still pretty broke. I make no promises to write consistently, or to write without the swears and scars and biting cynicism that are pretty characteristic of who I am.

But I’m home.

Hi, I’ve missed you.

An Iris in Remembrance.


There’s a bed of purple irises in our backyard. A single blossom has unfurled, and it evokes warm memories of my mother, all those late spring days when she would weed the flower beds at the front of the house, and the irises seemed to multiply by hundreds every year, their heavy heads bowing in the May sun.

In many ways, I feel like I’m not in a place right now to be grateful for what happened to us. Time presses on, and the weight of meaning-making feels impossibly hard to bear.

And yet, these memories sprout up anyway. They both anchor and undo me, all at once. They are the leaves I grow and shed, over and over again, that feed the soul-soil of who I am. It’s an ongoing existence of death and rebirth. That’s what grief is to me – death and rebirth, death and rebirth. Some seasons are uglier and harder than others, and I’m sure I can never recover these winters. And some seasons I turn toward the sun, arms outstretched, like all those irises my mother planted, growing by the years.

So today, yes, I bow my head. Thank you, thank you.