Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sitting in Silence

I have struggled for a few weeks with how to word my new blog post.  Transparency is the goal.  Most of you know that Luke has a job he loves, unfortunately it takes him out of town for most of the year.  Most of you know that Luke and I have struggled in our marriage and come out the other side closer than when we started.  We have an amazing life.  We have been blessed beyond our deserving.  We have two healthy beautiful children.  I would put our families and friend in the running for the best on the planet.  We have lived from one side of the country to the other.  All in all a great life.

But lately, I have found myself sad, discontent with our circumstances.  So I have spent a lot of time working through this with God.  I have sought advice and comfort from family and friends.  And I have come across some things that have been very surprising and a little frustrating.  There seems to be a prevalent thought that just because you have it all you should be grateful and happy.  As though those two things are mutual.  Or that because you know the end game or out come you should be happy.  I would like to propose that grateful and happy are two different things and that peace in the process is different from being happy in it.

Case in point, my husband is an amazing man.  He leaves a family who loves him and he loves fiercely in return every week to go and make the best possible living he can.  However, in doing so he is missing our life.  He is missing our children growing.  While I am grateful to God and to him for what he does, I am saddened by our separation.  I know that this is a season in our life, not a forever.  We face coming changes in this circumstance, I know the outcome.  Any one who knows me knows I struggle with fear of whats to come.  For the first time in my walk I feel at peace about the coming changes or lack thereof.  It doesn't matter what happens God will provide, I am convinced.  But that doesn't make the patience in waiting easy or the pain in separation any less acute.

For a while now I have struggled with these feelings.  How do these feelings all live together in one person? Am I showing an ungrateful heart by being sad or discontent? So I turned to God for help...his example was Jesus.  Wow.  The creator of the universe knows your pain.  He's been there, done that.   Jesus cried in the garden over the separation that was to come between Him and His Father.  He begged God to take this pain from him, but was willing to face it anyway.  He knew the end game, the outcome, He knew his purpose and still felt sorrow. Here's what else I saw, it wasn't for nothing.  There was a reason for the pain.  An amazing joy and gift for all the world was the out come.  But, there was pain in the wait. Jesus knew all of this and still felt it, still faced it.
I am grateful for the job my husband has that provides for our family.  I am sad that it means he misses our life.  For weeks I have felt alone, no one seemed to understand what I was going through.  I prayed for peace and comfort and found none.  I tried to seek those things from the people around me.  Then, I searched the bible and read about peace and provision and comfort that is unending from a place of such love that only God can offer.  Finally, I heeded it's word and stopped struggling and am sitting in silence.  Waiting for God to bring me peace and waiting for God bring our family back together. 

Let me encourage you today.  Whatever your struggle, whatever your circumstance or sorrow, you are not alone.  God is with you in your pain. He hears your cries and when your heart is broken and there are no words, the bible says he hears your heart.  I have been there, I'm there still.  I finally understand what James meant when he said count it all joy when you face many trials, I know I am learning perseverance and patience. I know I am growing. This week he brought me comfort that my sorrow is not for nothing, there is change in the trial.  Growth for me and Luke.  I am comforted that I am not alone in my sorrow over our separation. I am not alone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exquisite Loss

Webster's dictionary defines exquisite in several ways.  One is marked by deep sensitivity and subtle understanding.  Another is acute or intense.  Such descriptions are perfect for understanding exquisite loss.  Such loss can be from a possession or a dream.  For today, for me, it is the loss of a person.  My brother.

Most people who know me know I have 1 brother.  Know me well and you know I had two.  Know me longer and you'll know he died of a drug overdose.  That was 9 years ago today.  I have learned so much in 9 years about loss.  My brother was the first in a long line.  Between my husband and I we experienced major loss once a year every year after Josh died for 5 years in a row.  I don't mean we knew some one who died every year.  I mean we lost close loved ones, fathers, grandparents, mentors, close friends. We know the pain of loss so deep it changes not just you but your entire family, not just for a season but for the rest of your life.  So when I say I know what it means to deal with exquisite loss, I mean it.  I have experienced loss so painful that it takes your breath away, not once but everyday for years.  I have carried this pain and experienced sorrow so deep you arent sure if you can legitimately get out of bed.  I have also experienced living with loved ones who are going through ranges of emotion so wide you don't know what to do or how to help.  Afraid always of saying the wrong thing.

After 9 years, I'm always surprised at the depth of sorrow that still remains.  It catches me off guard now and again. Usually when I see people at the stage of life that he would have been at. I have learned in 9 years that it is a pain that will never go away.  It is a moment of life that I will "get over".  It was a moment when my life shattered and when I put the pieces back together, the picture was very different.  A hole that will never be filled.

But in the last 2 years, after finding Christ, I have found peace. I have learned by God's grace to let go of my anger.  I have lived through God breaking down the walls of my heart and while he has not taken the pain of that loss he has replaced it with more joy than I deserve.  I have been given a great gift and responsibility.  I have been able to share the story of my brother's life with other people.  People struggling with addiction and people struggling with exquisite loss. I have seen God use a senseless death to heal and help others.  Some days it eases this ache and gives purpose to a why.  But then there are days like today.

My brother was the first man outside of my father who made me feel like I was worth more than the life I was living. He made me feel loved and beautiful. He told me I was stupid if I didn't hold on to the man who would become my husband.  He told me he wanted to be like me when he got older.  He said wanted to make me proud. I miss him today with part of soul.

Fragile and sad, I face this day with hope that can only come from resting in the knowlege that even those who leave are never really gone.  They live on in those left behind.  They live on in the hearts of parents, and siblings, and friends.  They live on in the legacy's leave...Legacy's of love and joy and hope.