Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mountains and Valleys

It's been a long while since I have really committed to thinking and writing about life after Daniel-year 4. It's like mentally there is a hard stop in my brain and I can't formulate a thought, let alone get the time to type it all out. This month, however, the thoughts and the emotions are fizzing to the surface and the ever constant reminder through it all isn't allowing me to just push it down and address it later. There are pictures and words I have written in the past, a bystander walk through with another who is visiting the freshest parts of grief, and most recently a service dedicated to lamenting. 
I have come along way since those moments where I did scream out in pain-a Mother's heart ripped from the very chest where her child had lain his head. I have walked a path that was filled with somber hurt, numbing thoughts, fear and failure. I have been at the very base of a mountain and in the deepest of the valleys. I have moved 4 years farther from time with my son and 4 years closer to him in the same seconds. I have ebbed and flowed in my nearness and distance with God. Never forgetting where my strength comes from but sometimes thinking I was strong enough without that power source. 
It was the words written by David in Psalm 6 that I heard last night with ears longing to catch what my mind could not formulate. 
1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 

2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. 
3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? 
4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 
5 No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave ? 
6 I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. 
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. 
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. 
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. 

10 All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
While this was probably written when David had a physical ailment, have I not suffered the same bone agonizing pain and felt my soul cry out? Physically, mentally, spiritually I will never be the same person I was 4 years ago. I have read the condemnation of people, I have grappled with the guilt of being a parent who felt like a failure and I have wondered why God would take a child. Last night I heard words that 4 years ago would have pissed me off. That would not have made sense to me. I only knew enough to know whatever I was going to encounter from there on out was going to be hard and I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere on my own.  It was like there was this innate longing for someone to take me and hold me up and give me answers. It was the building of a lifetime of encounters with God-known to me and unknown to me-that was preparing me for the moments where I would hurt the deepest and cry the hardest. 
As I move into year 4, I am getting the chance to reflect on years 1-3.  As I sat in that auditorium, words that I had been trying to formulate in my mind, were being spoken by a pastor. 
"Pain is preparing for service"
"...believing in advance what will make sense in the past"
"it's not the load that breaks you, it's how you carry it"
And he finished with Matthew 11:28-30
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
This verse was one of the very first verses in my newfound faith that rung the truest to me. I remember sitting at Dorsett Village with my infant Daniel at my feet and thinking, "this is a God who can make my life right". I wrote this in May of 2008: 
"There couldn't have been a more perfect sermon this Sunday than the one my pastor gave. Each week I am in awe of how God's word seems to speak so closely to me-and it was no exception this Sunday. Pastor Mark talked on the "school of life" and the required "courses" we take (life, death and judgement) and our "electives" (choosing our way of life, what to do with Jesus and our destination). 
We are required to live, to die and have judgement called upon us. What we choose to do with our lives is strictly up to each and every one of us; and I have chosen to live my life for Christ. I have opened my door to receive Him and call on Him and place my burdens in His hand-to rest my soul. I am never ceased to be humbled in all that He does for me every day. 
Thank you Lord for gently guiding me in my decisions, for watching over my
family-my entire family-for giving me the chance to live for YOU"
Over the course of the years from that, I did wax and wane, but it was the initial opening of my heart to Him that allowed Him to flood me when I was most damaged. 
Year 4 is here and so is my story. His story. Daniel's story. 
I will use this pain and this growth to show how joy can last in the midst of suffering. Suffering that doesn't have to always be bone crushing but can be a whisper-and can still be overcome.  
I miss you. I miss you everyday. It sometimes hurts to hear Jake talk about you, but it's so healing, too. I know that you are part of this family in every moment. I wish I could have had every moment of your lift captured so I could look at it and hear it. But I take consolation in that I have so many people that love you and talk about you and don't shy away from your memory. It sometime feels like it's going to be an eternity until I get to see you, and then I remind myself I get that eternity with you. Until then, I will keep improving myself, my faith and my relationships for you. You gave me so much more than a title; you gave me a chance to be something bigger then all of this. To live for something bigger then this. I love you, baby.
Until then...