Tomorrow? Can you come tomorrow?
I was on the phone with my friend; the one who asks more questions than I have answers for, but persists with the hope to know me, you and herself a little bit better. I’ve come to enjoy the richness these inquiries bring. Knitted together by threads of who, what, where, when and why—her questions become a vibrant colored blanket of new discoveries of faith, character and community wrapped snug around me for the journey.
But one thing I know for sure.
She will never ask what it feels like to watch a parent die.
She’s walked that road—twice.
She understands grief.
The next afternoon I sat on her floor surrounded by mounds of colorful papers, stickers, favorite snapshots and memories bound together with love. Her projects were finished and I came to motivate the clean-up process. As we sorted through the mess my dear friend asked questions and we talked about the summer, the husbands, the ants, the kids, the cats and our parents. We talked until every tiny scrap was cleared off the floor, every box stowed away and every family member’s toes deemed safe from potential paper cuts.
I’m just so impressed with how well you are doing.
I froze as her words hung in the air. It wasn’t a question—it was a statement. Quickly I began to mull over in my mind what it meant to be “doing well”. As she continued to talk and attribute my well-being to my faith, I internally switched roles and became the one to ask myself the questions. Am I doing well? Is my faith strong? Why don’t I feel…strong? What does a strong faith feel like? What would she say if she knew how I wanted to deal with the heartache?
I never knew grief was such an overwhelming emotion. It sometimes feels like I’m anchored in the harbor waiting for the fog to clear away, so I can set sail, but instead it just keeps rolling in. It is an ache another friend describes as the air becoming too thick to breathe. Other times I am frightened over the restlessness in my spirit—and flesh. I find my mind swirling, racing to come up with a way to rid myself of this suffocating sorrow.
How does one escape the pain?
I wish I could tell you I worshiped the Lord until I collapsed from holy exhaustion.
But I can’t tell you that.
Because I didn’t.
I wish I could tell you I never thought about drinking,*dying, or running away.
But I can’t tell you that either.
Because I did.
Honest to God, I really did.
Apparently, even in spite of my weekly church attendance, daily scripture reading, spiritual blog writing, Psalm 23 Bracelet-making business, and my constant companionship with the One who ushered my dad home—
I’m. Still. Human.
I’m still trapped in this flesh. Still grieving, healing, and coping as best as humanly possible. And sometimes I grasp at things (or ideas) to make it all better—even if it might mean it will ultimately make things worse. I didn’t say it was right. But admitting it helps my grieving process to continue to move forward—with Him.
And just so you know…
I didn’t drink, die, or run away. Nor do I think about it anymore. Not today. Not this week—or even last week. But in those early moments and days—grief was a fierce tidal wave crashing over me. My “doing well” is only by the grace of God and a community of others standing as a breaker against the scary storm of grief.
And when the water swells and rises to crash over me again, I trust Him to weather the storm with me. No question about it.
Thank you for joining me on the journey. ~L
How do you weather the storm in your life?
Here or somewhere…be real. Share your journey.
*Very important clarification necessary: Although this might be a tricky one to explain. These were non-suicidal thoughts. Never did I want to hurt myself. Rather if a terminal diagnosis came my way at that time–I was in a place I would be ok with it. These were fleeting moments, but “heavy” enough in my grieving process to mention here. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts: please seek help immediately. Please. You are loved, cherished and worthy of a life of wholeness and healing and joy. 9*1*1 Please. You can do this. You can live a life of freedom and victory. It’s possible. It really is. Holding you up…whoever you are to the One who calls you His. Jesus. He’s got you. He really does.
For me, For you…Worship & Scripture
(not because it “fits” this blog–but because it is where I am in the journey—and thought maybe you might be too.)
The only song that seems to strike a chord in my spirit these days:
The song my heart listened to as I wrote this blog:
The only scripture that seems to sail higher than others right now:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:10 (NIV1984) Also a footnote in Matthew 18:11