I write not just because it helps me process my pain, but because it makes me feel braver and less alone. I am learning to be honest with myself, to not rush towards the silver lining, to tell the truth - even when it is hard. I guess that is one side effect of suffering. You quit caring about all of the crap that doesn't matter, you only have room for what is important. When you are broken, when you are shattered into a million pieces, when the fire burns the fiercest and threatens to consume everything… this is where love is born. I don't want to be here, no one chooses the furnace, but when it chooses you - you will either be consumed or you will fight like one who overcomes hell and somehow light will pour out of all those broken pieces and create a radiance that is not your own.
I am not there yet, not to the place of the broken pieces coming together to form anything from which light can pour forth… but I have hope that the radiance exists, that there is still joy, still hope, still healing. I'm still in the midst of the disaster, the one that strikes and you know that sometimes good people get screwed for no reason. Sometimes you get something so awful that you never deserved. You cannot 'win' your way out of it by working harder or being better - sometimes life is really unfair. Having suffered similar losses before, I know what it is like to cling to Jesus like the life jacket He is and somehow find dry land again and after careful examination realize that you are 'okay.' You are not the same, you will never be the same, but you faced your greatest fear and survived. It was easier for me to see good, to see the ways that those experiences made me richer, deeper, more compassionate and present. It was easier to look back and see that God had made something good out of my pain.
Now…if I am honest - which I will be… I don't care. I don't care about all of the fruit that grows out of suffering. This coming from a person with a well developed theology of suffering. I'm just over it. I don't want to grow, it isn't enough to lose another child just to learn a lesson of some kind. I have to believe there is more, that God's redemptive purposes are greater than that. I am learning to be gentle with myself, to quit running away and striving so hard, to just accept that this is my heart right now. To acknowledge that while I know all of the true things about God, it is a million miles from my head to my heart at this moment… and that's okay. Hope will come, but it is a door that each person must open on their own - no one gets to do it for you.
I was praying today and just telling my Father about my deep hurt and disappointment. I had this vision of myself with my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces and I carefully gathered them and put them in this hard, protective shell and I cradled it carefully in my hands. Jesus put his hands around mine, He didn't say anything but I could feel him beckoning me to look at Him, to open my hands… but I couldn't, even when I tried, I couldn't see His face, I couldn't meet His eyes, I couldn't unwrap my hands. I was desperately holding onto what is left of my heart and feeling so fiercely protective of my hopes, my pain, my dreams… how can I open my hands and truly let go when I know that even if He holds it all, it doesn't mean that I will receive what I want?
That is where I am, this is the truth. I know that God won't leave me in this place, that He won't give stones when I ask for bread, but He can handle it. He can handle my heartbreak, my unbelief, my pain … whatever I bring Him - He can take it. I may not be ready to hand it over yet, but I know He's there, hands gently cupped around mine, waiting for me to be ready to let go.