It’s just another evening of life and I am sitting in bed reading and writing, windows open and a cup of tea on my night stand. There’s some sort of chirping creature outside my window who seemed charming at first but who is now becoming an unwelcome addition to my solitude. I tried yelling at it through the screen, because I am apparently that crazy.
Do you ever catch yourself experiencing a moment where you are caught off guard at where your life has taken you? These moments are not necessarily good or bad, simply surreal and surprising. Often I think that they start with an “I never thought I would be…” and end with something timely and personal.
For example “I never thought I would be a full time Mom”
Or “I never saw myself living in Oklahoma with an oil well in my backyard”
I have had a lot of moments like these lately, especially coming up on the one year anniversary of losing my mom.
“I never thought I would be orphaned before 30.”
I so often try to ignore the statistics of my life, like the fact that between Kel and I, all four of our parents are gone and our kids will never know their real grandparents. It’s such an awful stat about our family and I try really hard to downplay it. To simply confirm it and move on.
I spent the weekend with a friend, supporting her as she attended the funeral of her roommate’s brother, who died last week in Afghanistan. Experiencing that death third-hand kept taking me back to last October and the gut wrenching, hope-crushing process that was burying my mom. Through helping process this new loss I was continuously reminded of the shocking and harsh nature of death. There is usually this look of utter disbelief on the faces of those left behind, as if to say “Is this really happening?” “Are they really gone forever?”
Yes, it really is. And I am so sorry about that truth. If I could carry it away from you I would. There is nothing as permanent as death, in a world where almost everything is negotiable and can be fixed, death is not and cannot. For me the shock of my mother’s death still hits me. A year later I still go to call her each and every Sunday afternoon, as if almost 52 Sundays of not talking has had no effect on my routine of connecting with her on her loneliest day.
Normally I am all about optimism and hope, and if you look closely I still am tonight. But death can’t just be patched over with sweet words, no matter how true. Just because you are honest about the harsh, hard, sharp reality of death doesn’t mean that you lost faith. Faith can be there among the shock. I think we show a lack of faith when we refuse to “go there.” We have to do into the pain of loss in order to emerge whole again. I think true faith shines brightly in an individual who goes into the deep painful seasons of life with faith that they can be real with pain because they serve a God who brings us back again. He is all about restoring but he is never about pretending or burying the truth.
There is no raw pain like that of sudden and shocking loss. Loss hits us in all sorts of ways: loss of relationships, loved ones, jobs and health. I still visit that shock from time to time, but not always. It’s okay to mourn deeply, I promise if you keep digging through the darkness you will find light and strength. But I know that it sucks deeply and steals your breath. Be real about that. Keep going there, keep going and going. Life is composed of seasons, and this it just one temporary one, albeit the darkest sort.
Journey with friends and never stop talking to your God.