I've been crying a lot in the last few days. Well, let's be honest, a lot in the last couple of weeks. And it finally hit me that these tears, which have been triggered by the death of Jackson, encompass many other griefs as well. Of course. Those of you familiar with the details of my life are probably not surprised at this, but from within, I can be slow on the uptake. Grief about the loss of Grampie, the ongoing pain of J, my own health challenges (even of this one year) are all enough to break a person. But we've gritted out teeth and kept walking. Until this. Until this too, I should say. But the sense of 'even the dog' (as in--"We must even lose our dog this year?") has felled me. Absolutely felled me. And once the floodgates were opened I've had a very hard time closing them up again.
Perhaps, you might say, this is healthy. These are the words I'd tell you if it was you who was crying so copiously.. However, I also find it important--imperative--to reclaim some land, so to speak that I'm losing by this erosion. That is, that I re-position myself within the context of God's purpose in my life, see all of this as His work rather than something merely outside my/our control (because frankly, that's almost completely how it feels).
You see, I grow impatient to get beyond the unending tears of today back to the faith of my 'real' life, the faith I know will return tomorrow. Despite the words I wrote yesterday about living in grief as long as I need to, I am a person built for joy. It's just my natural habitat. This probably won't make sense to those of you who don't know me, but though I'm sarcastic (I am, after all, my parents' child), I'm also deeply in love with life and God and all that He does in it. It's just how I roll--being glad and thankful. He gave me this temperament. It's His gift, I'm well aware.
It's just that it hasn't been simply this week that life's been hard, but the longest season. How far do we go back? To September when Grampie broke his hip and we began our dozen trips to the emergency room? A pace at which we'd never seen before? Every other week there was another crisis of epic proportions, it seemed. A non-responsive Grampie, a suicidal son, me with a heart attack. These are not mere broken arms, easily set in casts and sent on our way.
Or do we go back to 2008 when my mother broke her hip, then her ankle, and I began to spend so much time in Pullman, then Beve's sister got sick and sicker and died at the end of 2009, and we moved Grampie and Thyrza here. And, at almost exactly the same time our son began his duel battle with physical and mental illness. Where do we start?
And where will it end? With this? With our beloved dog dying? Because I have to tell you, I don't know much, but I'm pretty sure the answer is NO to that last question. There are a whole lot more difficult days ahead. It just stretches so far out ahead of us. And if I'm honest, I admit that I get scared to think of what more might be required of us. There are some of you out there who are saying I don't live by faith to say such things. But I say, walk in my shoes for a day, then tell me you wouldn't have such thoughts. Walk in my shoes without tripping, without falling. Without crying.
You ask Beve these days how he's feeling, and every single time, he'll answer, "Overwhelmed."
And that's perhaps the best answer. Overwhelmed.
I'm not the only one living in such a season as this. In some measure or other, almost every one of us is wounded. Worried about something. Wondering how long it will last, Or when the other shoe will drop. Or, if you aren't, you're looking up and thankful that it's not you. But it might be. None of us gets out of life without it. So where does this lament end? What do I do with it? What does any of us do when we're in such a place?
But this I know. This I believe. On this I stand. "God will not allow us to suffer beyond our power to endure." I do know this. Unfortunately, I think He thinks I'm stronger than I think I am. Thankfully, He's stronger in me than I am in myself. Thankfully, He's in me. Yes, thankfully He is in me. Thankfully, HE IS.