From mud puddle to seashore

This morning my Uncle Stanley died.

He had been in poor health for some time, and even before that he struggled with many other matters as well.  He was no doubt weary, and his body was no longer serving him well.  He had been on life support more times than I can remember and had managed to fight back again and again.  I remember joking with my dad after one of those touch-and-go instances that he may have been part cat.  Nine lives and then some.

My earliest memory of him is when he came to stay a weekend with us when I was still young and pudgy and bossy (some days I guess I may still be the latter two of those things, anyway).  He was in the next room as I was matter-of-factly bossing my big sister around and I remember his chuckle as he told my dad what he’d overheard me say.

When that big sister of mine called me crying this morning, I remembered that for some reason, that Johnny Cash voice and the crinkles around his eyes when he was happy and smiling and doing well, and then I shed my tears too.

The sadness and the mourning are a completely natural response.  But after sitting with that for a moment, I started to think of what he must be seeing now, and the immeasurable peace and joy that must come with moving from a broken body in this mud puddle of a world on to the beautiful seashore of the afterlife, for we truly are

“like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”-C.S Lewis

We cling to this life, not being able to fully grasp that we are offered something that is




when it’s over.  We can’t comprehend the magnificence of what we have not yet experienced, so we try desperately to stay in our insufficient little shells in this broken little place because the beautiful parts of it, which are really only mere shadows-whispers-of the glory to come, are all we know by which to measure.   And maybe that’s the only way it can be.

It’s natural to mourn the loss, but Stanley knew where he was going and I believe he was ready.  My aunt says his favorite song says, “When I get to where I’m going there will be only happy tears. I will shed the sins And sorrows I have carried all these years.”  How lovely that is.  So even though we will mourn, right now my Uncle Stanley is having the time of his afterlife at the Seashore, and so I mourn and rejoice simultaneously.

So let me rephrase that opening sentence for more detail and accuracy:

This morning, after coming near death at least a dozen times over the past several years, my Uncle Stanley with the Johnny Cash voice who struggled with the health of both his body and his spirit for a great portion of his life slipped out of the wearisome burden of his earthly body and went running into the open arms of his heavenly Father.

Yes.  That’s so much better.


When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:54-56




Well friends, Kristen is now driving all over the place, Anna is officially a teenager and it has been occurring to me more and more lately that my girls are growing up and will be gone from my little nest in, oh, about five short minutes.  But let’s not wallow in panicked self-pity today.  That’s not what this post is about!  This post is about what I’m going to do when they’re gone.  In other words:

What’s a  momma with nobody to momma gonna do with herself?

My girls and I are pretty tight, and at the risk of sounding kind of pathetic and non-progressive to my more career-oriented readers, I admit to being pretty tied up in my title of mom to the point that my identity is pretty centered around it.  And that’s ok with me, since in my opinion if you bring life into the world you should probably expect to center your world around raising those beings for a good chunk of years.  But yeah…I am going to need something to fill my time when that job is done.

I am going to  need a distraction of epic proportions.

Or at the very least something that keeps me on a schedule where I really am forced to not stay in bed weeping into my pillow alone in the fetal position and feeling like my life and purpose are done the entire time Seth is at work.  ‘Cause that’s not sexy.

I need to start think about me and what to do with me and all of that jazz.

So in that spirit, potential future employers, here’s my resume for your consideration.


Angela Hayden


Fill time in a productive manner and contribute to my work environment in a manner which distracts from the fact that I am a sad empty nester who wakes up every day to an empty house.  Avoid curling up into a ball of self-pity by realizing that I can be happy and fulfilled even with daughters gone from home.  Prevent self from havin time to call/text children so much in any given day that they begin to avoid all calls/texts from my number.   Find self apart from identity as mom.  Allow husband to go to work daily without looking at me all confused and terrified as he says, “You…gonna’ be okay today?  Do you need me to cancel my meeting and take you to lunch? Or maybe to a therapist?”  Help supplement costs of college tuition, room and board because good God amighty how ’bout that college inflation?!?  Make shoe money.  Possibly also make handbag money.  Okay, definitely shoe and bag money.  And, not to backtrack too much,  possibly therapist money.

Employment Experience  

Mom – 1998-present

Job duties included but not limited to: loving, caring for, and developing productive, kind, thoughtful human beings.  Listening skills almost perfected, as is ability to detect mood of teenage daughter by tone rather than meaning of actual words.  Tricky.  Proficient in knowing when a toddler needs a cuddle, a kindergartener needs to feel independent, and whether a high schooler needs either to cuddle and/or feel independent (This is a highly specialized skill set which can only been developed with years of experience.  I will admit to not exactly being sure how that might translate in the corporate world unless it has in recent years, unbeknownst to me while I was home, become acceptable to cuddle either coworker or employer.  Will give this further thought).  Fairly adept in walking the line between being a mother who is “cool” and not being a mother who is “trying to be cool.”  Exceptional at being certain daughters feel confident and valued so that they do not end up wearing thong bikinis in a biker bar for attention.  Adept in raising beautiful, intelligent, independent thinkers who do not feel the pressure to be just like everyone else and who feel zero need to wear a certain shoe or have a $50 sweatshirt (because seriously, guys, a $50 sweatshirt?) just because most of the popular kids do it.  Accomplished in raising two incredible, faith-filled young women with such beyond-their-years wisdom and inner beauty that it will move a mother to tears if she thinks about it too much (Please disregard tear stains on resume).

Secretary – Engineering firm –  2000-2002.

Manager – Off-campus Dairy Queen, Auburn Alabama – 1995-1997


Auburn University, Auburn Alabama: 1994-1996 – No degree to show for all that student loan money.  Would rather not discuss this point further.

Prattville High School, Prattville Alabama: 1990-1994


Supplied upon request, assuming I can find Charlie from the closed Auburn Dairy Queen and the engineer I worked for decades ago.  They may both be dead by now, but I mean, I think they thought I was a’ight.


 I think that’s a pretty good start.  I’d totally hire me.