I’ve Lost “Me” in my Grief

I have discovered another ply to this heavy blanket of grief.  It is the loss of me.   I am not who I was.  The “before” me is no more. The moment my son’s heart stopped, mine began to beat in a different rhythm.  IMG_7797Realization of the breadth of our separation exploded like a bomb and left my heart shattered. The security of the past is now only an illusion, and the sanguine suppositions of life now lay in piles on the ground with the shards of my fractured heart. What am I to do with the “after” me?

In a single instant that was completely out of my control, I not only lost my son, but also in some sense, myself. My life was thrown into a kaleidoscope of change.   While struggling to breathe under the unwelcome layers of my grief blanket, my strained spirit also wrestles with piecing together the broken bits of me. The “before” me was violently shaken and now the pieces of me are in flux. person in kaleidoscopeI stand in a new relation to the parts of the old me and I am left to shape the “after” me into something useful, even something beautiful.

This is not easy.  I miss much of the “before” me who approached life with surety and confidence.  The me who seemed so likeable and happy.  The qualities of the “after” me must be put together with gentleness and resolve, lest they become another burden for me and others to bear. My two opposing natures will never cease to struggle.  Daily the pieces of the “after” me settle into a new pattern.  Some days I live in the uncomfortable and ugly chaos of shifting pieces in search of a new and unique design.  kaleidoscope in motionOther days I simply don’t like the depiction and I find that I must disrupt the pattern and slowly turn the kaleidoscope to find a fresh combination.

I am not alone in creating this new perspective. Thank goodness, because some days I don’t have the strength to raise the lens.  I place my kaleidoscope in the only hands capable of making something beautiful of my brokenness.  In the hands of my Master Creator, the slightest shift transforms my vulnerability into authenticity, mosaic heart no mortarmy self-pity into empathy, my solitude into more intentional relationships, my quietness into contemplative prayer, my insecurity into a better perspective, my weakness into strength and my doubt into hope.  The “before” me still exists in bits that can be shifted together with the fractal pieces of the “after” me when placed in the hands of The Designer.  He can adjust the angle of the lens to allow my before and after to combine into something beautiful that He will use if only I will let Him.

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It’s Mother’s Day and I’m Still a Mother

a mothers love enduresI often struggle with my identity since the death of my son.  I am changed- forever.   I mourn the me I used to be, while at the same time, I strive to make something positive of who I have become.  I’m trapped in the unchosen life sentence of the before and after imposed by grief.  A sentence that combines obsessive thoughts, guilt, fear and regret and wraps them tightly around me, threatening to suffocate me within the walls of my solitary confinement.  The once vigorous me is replaced by a languid me.  A new emotion now rages within me, one forged by the untamed union of love and grief.

I am not the same, yet one part of me has not changed.  I am still a mother.  A mother whose heart spans heaven and earth. Although six are present, one is always missing.  Although the table is a buzz with stories of the day’s happenings, one chair is always empty.  Although the chaotic noise of voices rumbles through the halls, the silence of one voice permeates the walls.  Although the days are filled with the hopes and dreams of six young adventurers, a thousand dreams of one are left unfulfilled.  Although I speak often of the tribulation and triumph of the six kids who still call my name, the fear of making others uncomfortable silences my lips to speak of one.

Motherhood is a world of tears; the result of joy and pain, laughter and exhaustion, pride and fear.  The physical pain that launched my journey some 32 years ago was soon forgotten when that perfectly pink, bundle was laid upon my chest and forever carved into my heart. motherhood-babyfeet But, the pain of his loss I carry forever.  I can temporarily quiet it, but it always rears its ugly head, striking again whether invited or not, whether expected or not.  I fall into bed at night exhausted from its weight and wake each morning weary to carry its load again.  My tears fall as liquid prayers that vacillate between beseeching the Father of Hope for the strength to face another day and giving Him thanks for the time given, though too short, as his mother.

I am still a mother.  One who cannot escape the yearly date on the calendar that celebrates all the blessed women who are fortunate enough to play an incomparable role of influence in the lives of a child through birth, adoption, or some other emotional bond that makes them unique.  My world of before and after is never more heart-rending than on Mother’s Day.  The pain of my loss is especially poignant. 13-balloon-lonely-girl-sad11-black-whiteThe dichotomy of emotions whips like waves leaving me wanting to stick my head in the sand until the day passes.  There is no pretending on Mother’s Day. It is a day full of hard because it is also good.  The very definition of bittersweet.  There are children who want and need to celebrate me and my own mother and mother-in-love, both are worthy of celebration.  So, I carry on.

Please remember that I am still a mother. I didn’t choose to be this kind of mother, and for me and others like me, this day is hard.  I am a mother to those on earth who fill my life with surprise visits, unexpected phone calls, carefully chosen gifts and handmade cards.  But, I am also a mother to one who now resides at the feet of Jesus and lives on earth only within the confines of my heart. It is my life, the new me.  I live, though part of me has died.  I breathe, though grief suffocates.  I laugh and I cry, sometimes over the same memory.

Though my heart is torn between heaven and earth, I will make it through this day.  I call to my God of Hope who cradles me in His arms and holds my liquid prayers in a bottle.  I wrap myself in the comforting embrace of His grace. He who granted me the blessing of being called mother, now holds my son in perfect keeping and He will sustain me through this expanse of time until I too sit at His feet and worship in a forever land where there is no more weeping.

 

 

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Behold the Lamb

 

Easter!  That beautiful time of year when winter melts into spring and forlorn spirits transform into cheerful vigor. Stores replace drab colors with bright hues and the somewhat scary looking Easter bunny waves to shoppers as mothers carefully purchase coordinating clothes that will photograph well for the obligatory photo before church. Restless children fidget in uncomfortable new clothing while the pastor delivers a sermon he spent weeks preparing in hopes of reaching yearly attendees.  At last, it is home where baskets wait with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps and other small treats.  The yard is speckled with colored eggs and children race to see who can collect the most. Oh, but there is so much more!

 

This picture paints a thousand words. It so beautifully represents the true meaning of Easter through correlation and contraposition. IMG_7190

 

The first contraposition is the stark contrast of spring against the winter backdrop.  So we find a parallel in our own lives.  A dreary winter leaves our souls exposed.  The cold inside our hearts seems to rival the freezing temperatures made worse by a bitter north wind. Our hope lies buried beneath the weight of grief, depression and despair. But, while our storms raged and our bare branches struggled against forces; while our ground lay fallow under a blanket of snow, God was preparing the gentle south wind that ushers in spring. The sun warms the air and our hearts begin to thaw. Frozen streams trickle as ice melts and releases the waters of delight. The seeds of flowers planted long ago tremble in anticipation of breaking through the clods of winter soil, and so hope appears in our hearts.  The bare branches of trees break out in buds of life while birds bring back their songs of praise. Our cold hearts thaw and love breathes life back into our souls. purple-flowers-in-snow

 

The bright red on the neck of the spotless white lamb is the second contraposition and without it, the first would have no significance.  For the life-saving power that brings the hope of spring is found only in the innocent blood of the Lamb.  Jesus is the divine fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system.  John the Baptist definitely answers the question posed by Isaac in Gen. 22:7-8

 

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son.”

 

When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:36

 

He suffered the wrath of God on our behalf.  Perfect peace offered once on a cruel cross, but perpetual in effect.Christ on cross

 

The deeper meaning of The Lamb is found in the correlation with the innocent child who looks with awe into his face and lovingly strokes his head.

 

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15

 

A child has not yet been defiled by the world. Their sincere hearts exude trust and receptiveness.  They show no regard for outward distinction.  They are teachable and willingly dependent. They have the attitude needed to approach The Lamb whose very character is meek and lowly in heart, gentle and unresisting. The Lamb who loves us so much that despite our vile character, in vicarious obedience, in deep humility and self-surrender, suffered our fate so that we might have life.  In this life is the hope of spring after the death of winter.  That is Easter!

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Road

horizon on road

A journey is often the metaphor assigned to life –  some considerable distance to be traveled.  It implies a starting point and a destination. That’s the easy part.  You breeze along life’s open road knowing that the destination is over the horizon. Parents and other well-meaning adults assure you that the destination can be any place you want to go. Along the way you delight in the panoramic design of life’s diversity.  You listen to the music of life’s medleys. The aromas of life arouse your appetite to achieve.  You are cautioned that about the bumps along the way, and you ready yourself to maneuver through them. Sometimes, however, the bumps come without warning and knock you completely off course.  Suddenly your journey is now one of road hazards and unexpected detours that send your compass spinning.  The death of a child is such a divergence.  You suddenly find yourself on a road with no map.  A road that stretches in front of you that looks nothing like the anticipated journey and time is now divided it into the before and the after.  Life’s reliable road map is drastically changed and the struggle to navigate this altered course cannot be accomplished alone.broken road

The view in front of you is obscured.  You now see through a myopic lens that is clouded by tears and leaves you fearful of the journey ahead.  The smoothly paved predictable road that once guided you toward an unlimited expanse of future has now morphed into a rocky road that snakes endlessly over rough terrain.  The weariness of the road ahead leaves you longing for the beauty and certainty seen in the rearview mirror. The horizon now seems out of reach.

There is help.  There is a loving Father who understands the journey.  He too left the comforts of a truly perfect life and walked a road that led to a cruel death so that He might walk beside us and help us navigate our road of sorrow.  He paved the road that lies behind and He alone knows the way to the elusive horizon where a new day dawns in a heaven that knows no fear, nor pain. For He marked out the horizons on the face of the deep – Prov 8:27, and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes – Rev. 7:17.

For now, put hope in front of you. Determine to walk in faith regardless of how small your steps may seem. Rely on the faithfulness of the road behind you and the promise of the horizon in front of you, to maneuver through the uncertainty of the road beneath your feet today. For “Now we see but a poor reflection as a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I Cor. 13:12

 

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Revive Me

Revive meYesterday was a really bad, rotten day!  A day wrapped in the trappings of petty issues, “should have been,” guilt and “why me”.   A day when the tears fell without restraint and my body and soul cried to God about the injustice of life.  That was yesterday.

I rose early on this new day in hope of quiet solitude before the onslaught of new demands.  I watched as God painted His world with the first touch of light.  The clarity of the day is shrouded in the muted hues of sunrise, yet His splendor will continue to impregnate the sky bringing clarity and life.  His mercies are new every day.His mercies are new

As my weary soul sips on the lifeblood of morning coffee, I open His word.  In perfect divine sovereignty, He leads me to Psalms 119:37.

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your ways.”

Oh God, turn my eyes and thoughts from the trappings of worthless self-pity.  Breathe your life into me so that I may be revived!

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The Ghost of Christmas Past

candleOnce again life drug me through the calendar pages of another year in a paradoxical dance with time where days drag endlessly, yet years pass all too quickly.  I survived the triggers of Thanksgiving only to find myself reluctantly propelled into the clamor of Christmas with no regard to the induced weariness of the emotional roller coaster I didn’t ask to ride.  What am I to do with this holiday that casts people into festivity and spirits into merriment?

Each year I long for it to be easier, for the gaiety of the season to displace the gloom.  Yet, time offers me no favors and so, once again, I unlock the attic and lug down boxes that contain the wrappings that will deck our halls.  I paint myself happy and dutifully set into motion the performance we call Christmas because it isn’t about me.  My younger children are not held captive by the disturbance of memories.  light from Christmas boxThey don’t realize that I have a box that I will only open when no one else is home. The box that contains years of pictures with Santa in which childhood fantasies and wishes sparkled in bright blue eyes. The box that carefully houses ornaments crafted by small hands that once held mine.  A box that lets loose beautiful and unique memories gone too soon. A box that holds the haunts of Christmas Past.

Why does Christmas besiege me?  Why am I haunted by the ghosts of Christmases past?  The answer is simple and yet, so complex.  Love.  I loved deeply; I still love deeply, and I always will love deeply that little boy who made me a mother and who gave me a deeper understanding of the meaning of Christmas – hope revealed.  I must not regard Christmas through its wrapping of paper, tinsel and garland.  It can’t be found under a tree. Love is the gift that was wrapped in a swaddling cloth.  It was the Gift that unwrapped the cloth that shrouded Him in death to reveal hope.  Love is what gives strength to my afflicted heart and brings my faith out of hiding.

hope-is-born_aI close the box.  I can’t yet bring myself to hang the memories on the tree.  Maybe someday.  For now, I will wipe away my tears.  I will strive to quell the wistful longings of the Ghost of Christmas Past. I will let the tenderness of the past give me courage for the present.  I will wrap myself in a blanket woven by nostalgia and choose Hope.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.  I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.  The Spirits of all three shall strive within me.  I will not shut out the lessons they teach.”  – Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

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Behind Every Smile – When Depression Smiles

Nothing transforms a face like a smile. A smile is a dynamic tool in an arsenal of interactive social cues. Its power is contagious and breaks all barriers of language and culture. We all smile in the same languageBefore a baby speaks any word, he innately responds to a smile and quickly learns to use it as a means of communication.  The progression of smiles is then proudly documented by his parents – first smile, toothless smile, dimpled smile, impish smile, smiles with braces, graduation smiles, wedding smiles.

 

A smile can speak volumes in any language, but what is it saying?  It may be expressing pleasure, humor, satisfaction, affection, gratification or other aspects of happiness. smile quotes (1) However, sometimes the smile is simply a means of muffling an inner cry of pain, sorrow, worry and melancholy.  A smile is the chosen instrument of circumvention.  Behind the mask of a smile that radiates life, may lie a person whose heart and mind are darkened with turmoil.

 

To friends, acquaintances and even family, the smile seems to represent an accomplished, outgoing, bundle of energy that has life by the tail.  They smile and the world smiles with them.  The danger is that this may be exactly what they are trying to accomplish, for by making the world smile, it is easy to disguise your own despair.  Others are beguiled into accepting the façade, and consequently, are blinded to the pain that lurks so closely beneath the surface.  pretend everything's ok 2The National Alliance on Mental Health recognizes “smiling depression” as a major depressive disorder with atypical symptoms.  Because of this, many don’t know they are battling depression and don’t seek help, leaving a disturbing link between smiling depression and suicide.  A person who presents with “typical” depressive manifestations is easily recognized as troubled and friends and family know to intervene and seek help.  But, the friends, family and co-workers of the always happy life of the party, never think to ask how he might really be doing.

 

This was the case of our son.  His suicide shocked not only our family, but the entire community.  If you had asked me to put a million names on a list of people I thought might ever die by suicide, his name wouldn’t have even been on the radar. There was no history of mental illness with him or any other family member. On the contrary, his gregarious personality and compassion made him a light to all he encountered. I talked with him on a Wednesday afternoon and knew that he was hurting over an issue, but never once thought it was something he wouldn’t be able to work through.  Three hours later, I found him.  I think back to the last conversation we had and wonder if I missed any clues or warnings.  But, I know that he gave none.  We were left with questions that may never be answered and a feeling of guilt that adds unbearable weight to the suffocating grief.  I frantically dig through this dirty, smoldering pile of ashes that grief has left in its fury, for any glimpse of beauty to which I might cling. beauty-from-ashes Maybe the beauty comes in sharing our story, and in removing my own mask so that others might recognize their own.

 

Let’s look behind the smiles and the masks.  Let’s ask even the those who seem to be a source of joy for others how they are doing – not in some flippant gesture of greeting, but in sincerely offering a non-judgmental ear.  Let’s live authentically, willing to remove our own masks so that others may feel comfortable in removing theirs.  Let’s quit pointing fingers.  Let’s destigmatize mental health and work together to make a difference in a hurting world.

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An Interrupted Fairy Tale

This is a guest post that I wrote for a friend who is doing a series on overcoming difficulties in marriage.

An Interrupted Fairy Tale

The Power Of Sticking Together

Today’s testimonial story has been shared by my friend Kristi Prince.

To find out more about this series click here.


 

Happily ever after

 

An Interrupted Fairy Tale

By Kristi Prince

 

“Once upon a time” – it’s a great way to start a story because you know that whatever twists the plot might take, the ending will always be “happily ever after”.

I love happy endings! In fact, I’m that person that some of you hate. I like to read the end of the story first. If it doesn’t end well, I’m not wasting my time.

I have my own fairy tale.  I know the ending, but right now I find myself in one of the many plot twists that I never saw coming.  It is only because I have the promise of a happy ending that I can keep turning pages that seem written in a foreign language well beyond my comprehension; one that screams with a voice of fear, anxiety, chaos, confusion, guilt and pain. I pray that by reading the honesty in my story, you will find comfort in your own chronicle. Read it through two sets of lenses. One set is a temporal lens that limits vision to the present life and endures for a time only. The other, praise God, is an eternal lens which is immutable and is graciously provided for us by the true Author. So, I begin my story through the near-sighted lens of my now life, but strive to stay focused on the ending with the lens of my sovereign God of Hope.

Once upon a time (32 years’ worth of time) a starry-eyed 20-year-old stood at a church altar holding the hands of her Prince charming (literally…my last name is Prince).  My father officiated.  My brother sang.   We stood in front of hundreds of people who had braved the ice that cold December afternoon to support us as we began our new adventure. With a naïve love that radiated from deep within, we pledged our lives to one another. We recited the traditional vows and promised to “have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse…” Yep, definitely a fairy-tale beginning. The thought of “worse” was far from our minds.

This Boymom thought she had life by the tail!

Life proceeded just as we dreamed. We were crazy in love. On October 6, 1985 we welcomed our son, Taylor. Two more sons followed. All three looked just like their dad. They were happy, healthy, rambunctious boys and we were so in love with them. We did what we thought were all the right parent things. We took them to church and volunteered in their school. They were outgoing, bright, musical, funny, athletic and most importantly, Godly young men. Sure there were a few bumps in the road, but this Boymom thought she had life by the tail!

Our first plot twist occurred when God called us to adopt a sibling group of 4 from Russia in 2006. This detour could supply enough material for a book on its own, but life was still good. In 2007, Taylor stood at the altar with his biological brothers as groomsmen, Eli lighting candles, Shane bearing the ring and his adorable 3-year-old twin siblings sprinkling flowers down the aisle before his beautiful wife met him at the altar. The fairytale was still playing out according to my script, and in November of 2012 it got even better when we found out we would be grandparents.

But then…

Our story turned a new page on April 24, 2013 when, completely unexpectedly, we lost Taylor to suicide. It was as if someone had mistakenly ripped a chapter from some dark novel and shoved it into the middle of my fairy tale. It didn’t fit. The binding was not meant to hold these nightmarish pages whose jagged edges protruded from the spine like vicious teeth waiting to devour. Tim and I found ourselves hurled onto a painful course of obstacles that seemed insurmountable. This was the worst of “worse”. The turbulent voice of grief threatened to muffle any whispers of hope.

Hope doesn’t remove the pain; it simply makes its weight more bearable.Tweet this!

I can easily understand why such pain is the ruin of many marriages. Your life has been stripped bare. The color of your world has been drained with each tear that you shed. The cloak of grief weighs so heavily that you struggle to breathe. You are left feeling parched and empty. Yet, there is another who suffers in the same way. My man. The one God chose ahead of time to walk with me on this journey. To have and to hold me, for better or for worse.  So, we choose to hold each other, and to be honest with one another about the pain.

We cry together. We pray together. Together we choose to intentionally listen through the noise of our unwelcome battle for the whisper of God as He speaks a Fatherly love and peace over us. This is a conscious decision born out of the once naïve love that has matured into a deep, penetrating love over 32 years of selflessness. All those years ago we made a vow to one another under the canopy of the pledge made to us by our omniscient Heavenly Father. We will take the hand of Hope and muddle through this abstruse earthly chapter together. It does not remove the pain; it simply makes its weight more bearable.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

His promise of a lifetime allows us to look through the fog of today and focus on the hope of eternity. Together Tim and I will use His eternal lens to focus on the finish line in order to make it through the pain and anguish of today. Of one thing we can be sure, that while our lives are forever changed, the Author of Life is “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” – Hebrews 13:8. “He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelations 22:13

 He has already written our story’s ending. Someday it will be “Happily Ever After.”

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Grief – When Emotions Collide

 

Your precious little girl is celebrating her third birthday today with a Minnie Mouse party (she comes by her love of all things Disney quite honestly).  She has been talking about it for weeks.  She uses one hand to fold the thumb and pinkie of the other and then proudly holds up three fingers to announce that she will be “fwee on Juwy 11th.”  Excited toddlers and preschoolers will gather around tables adorned with pink and white and sparkles, their smiles highlighted with pink icing mustaches as they anxiously await the birthday princess to open the gift they brought. All the while, Poppins will entertain all the adults who agree that she is “practically perfect in every way.” Her charm will gladden the hearts of many as her personality bubbles out in animation that even Disney would have a hard time illustrating.  Poppa will try to capture all the moments on camera so all can relive the experience for years to come.  There is just one thing missing – you.

Once again, I find myself struggling as the emotions collide within me.  I want to lose myself in the infectious joy of the celebration, but find it difficult because my condition is defiled with grief.  My mind plays its own fantasy film of the fun Taylor would have with his daughter and she with him. My happiness is tainted with anger because the vision will always remain a dream.  My anger is laced with guilt because I don’t want to be mad at him.  The emotions all call for attention and swirl in a powerful cyclone that threatens to pull me into its vortex.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything –

“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes-3-1-8

What do I do when these times come in a discordant concert and the clash sends me spinning? I focus on the Creator of emotions and ride the familiar waves that come with grief. I don’t have to sequester one emotion for the sake of another. I realize that it is possible for the emotions to coexist.   I stand in the middle and let the emotions collide. I choose to let the turbulence push me farther down this road of sorrow.  I don’t have to close my ears when conflicting emotions vie for my attention with a cacophony of chaos.  worlds-collide-2Instead, I choose to listen to the song of Hope, Who combines my dissonant chords with others to produce a harmony that endures until I get to Heaven and have the chance to sing it with a chorus of angels.  For today, I choose to sing, “Happy Birthday!”

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Anniversaries – The Day I Wish Wasn’t

antique calendarCalendars are for marking days.  We write down plans, appointments, birthdays and anniversaries so we don’t miss something important.  There is a date on my calendar that has no marking yet glares at me as if written in neon – April 24th.   Every year I dread flipping the page from March to April because I know that the date will be staring back at me.  If I had my choice, I would remove it from my calendar in hopes that ignoring it would somehow take away its pain.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  The daunting day with all of its triggers arrives as scheduled.  What then do I do with this day that is more than a date; a date that will bring tsunami force waves of grief and the consummate wrestling match of emotions?  What do you even call the yearly recurrence of a date that twisted your fairytale life into a nightmare?

My quest continues for the best way to handle the day.  I begin by praying long in advance.  I ask those who mourn with me to pray.  It seems to be best for our family to be away from home where the walls close in and painful memories echo through the rooms.  This year we chose to go hiking at a nearby national park.  The beauty of God’s creation embraced us under the canopy of trees and the sound of water running from fresh springs was a soothing melody.  We stopped along a path to let the children enjoy a spring.  I grabbed the camera, for one lesson I have learned from all of this is that you can never have too many pictures.  I snapped a picture of the girls splashing in the water. FullSizeRender(3) What I thought would be just another picture turned out to be one of God’s little kisses.  A sunbeam shone from the heaven into the pool of water by the girls. I hadn’t noticed it when I took the picture. How amazing that God would give us this beautiful vision of Taylor being with us on that day.

I am still groping for answers as to how to make the day part of the healing process rather than another tear in already wounded heart. My answers will likely look different than yours.  That’s okay.  tug of warWhile I engage in an emotional tug-of-war where fear, weariness, anger, anxiety, betrayal and confusion pull with vehemence against peace, assurance, and fortitude, I must let the hope of what I know be my anchor on the rope’s end.  I know that God loves me.  I know He is sovereign.  I know that He has gone to prepare a place for me and He will come back and take me that I may also be where He is (John 14:3).  I know that not only when that day comes will I see my Savior, but also my son.  This hope which I intentionally seek gives me the strength to face a day that is reminder of the healing that is still taking place within me; of the contrast between what I am and what I seem.

Frederick Buechner in A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces says this, “The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts….We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”

Let the day be what it needs to be for your personal healing.  Let others know what you need and want for the day.  The journey to peace in this tragedy is far from over and anniversaries are one of the many hurdles along the course.  The pain is real and it is deep because our love is real and deep. book with flower I didn’t write the story of this life.  If I had, there would be no nightmare.  I don’t understand it, but I trust the One who is the Author of Life.  The One who holds time and seasons allows a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to tear and a time to mend – Ecc 3:1-8.  That fateful date has forever changed who I am.  I wrestle with the nightmare, but intentionally seek hope that will give me the strength for today and wisdom for the long road ahead.

God knows your pain,

Kristi

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