Saturday, January 28, 2017

Giving 'tomorrow' a chance.

Tragedy and trauma have a way of stopping you right in your tracks.

I remember one night this past summer...standing out on the deck. The stars still shone.  The lights of the community below still flickered.  Cars never slowed down. Sirens could still be heard.  It was the weirdest moment for me.

My world had stopped.  Every beat of my heart was something I marveled at.  Sometimes they actually hurt.  Breathing felt like effort.  Controlling my mind was ... extreme discipline.  The questions haunted me. My new-found knowledge tore at my soul.

And yet... the world went on.

It seemed so...wrong.

Not that the world revolved around me. Of course not.  But that my personal world had stopped. And yet...no one else's did.

The moment of being keenly aware of everything around you.  Seeing the joy on random stranger's faces...knowing they had not just discovered what we had.

Seeing some faces that looked hollow and sad and wondering what pain filled their world.

The moment when everything around you is loud yet so ... eerily silent.  The pulse in my temples so deafeningly loud as I stood out on the deck in the dark.

A few years ago I remember blogging about our friend that took his life. Something that never left me was said by his family member at his memorial service. "Never make decisions in March." He went on to explain that too often we make life altering decisions in a moment of darkness. Just before the sun comes up. Just before the flowers bloom and the world becomes bright again.

I remember my close friend, after finding out a student at her school had taken his life, said "if only he gave tomorrow a chance..." and that line stayed with me ever since.

During this journey...some of the longest months...longest days...longest minutes of my existence, I've thought about 'tomorrow'.

In my story...the immediate tomorrow did not bring hope. Tomorrow felt dark and hopeless.  And daily I would tell myself "just give tomorrow a chance..." b/c tomorrow was the bigger-picture-tomorrow.

I share this, because I'm not the only one going through deep, dark trauma.  Maybe it's financial. Maybe it's marriage. Maybe it's a family crisis. Maybe it's relational.  Maybe it's medical. A diagnosis that has left your world spinning.

Giving 'tomorrow a chance' won't be immediate.  It sure wasn't for me.  But tomorrows run into more tomorrows. And I can tell you ... there comes a moment when you realize you have somewhat survived the darkest days of your life.

When you look out at a beautiful sunny day and it doesn't look as dark anymore.  Tomorrow does hold hope.  Maybe not just one tomorrow...but many in a row...do.

Just choosing to give tomorrow a chance.  As robotic as it might feel...just putting one foot in front of the other.  Regardless of what you feel. There is hope.

Some of my 'tomorrows' brought worse news.  There were days that I had to reach out to friends and tell them to simply remind me if they saw hope. Because I didn't.  I had no problem acknowledging that my vision was skewed.  My heart too shattered to be counted on.  My mind blurring days and weeks and months.  Sleep fled.  Gone.  There were times I just longed for a heavenly touch....that would put me in the most peaceful, DREAM LESS (please!!!) sleep.  Rest.

Giving tomorrow a chance isn't light hearted or silly or shallow. It really is profound. But each tomorrow...commit to giving another tomorrow a chance.  Just one decision at a time.

And surround yourself with people who can remind you of hope...because it's there.  It's always there.



“In times of trouble, may the LORD answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm. May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem. May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings. Interlude May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the LORD answer all your prayers. Now I know that the LORD rescues his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power. Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the LORD our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm. Give victory to our king, O LORD! Answer our cry for help.”
Psalms 20:1-9 NLT

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"It wasn't worth it, Mommy!"

Each night I read 3 chapters of the Bible to the older 3 kids.  Tirzah reads on her own and she's ahead of us.

We just read through the story of Joseph.

When we were done, Zion (11y), looked at me...with a lot of emotion on his face. "It wasn't worth it, Mommy!"

I felt like I could hear the pulse in my temples as I tried to appear totally normal and ask what he meant.

"Well...you know. Joseph.  I mean he was thrown in a pit by his brothers. Sold as a slave.  Then thrown in jail for something he didn't do. For TWO WHOLE YEARS. Then the man he saved by telling his dream...forgot about him for another long time. Then after he finally gets out...he's second in charge of all Egypt. And it's an amazing story...but it wasn't worth it.  Like...if I were him, I wouldn't look back and go 'yeah...I'd totally go through that all again to be where I am now. I just wouldn't.' "

And I knew he was talking about so much more than Joseph.

His eyes were kinda glossy. Azlan looked at me and said "I'm totally with Zion on this". I quickly assured them...so was I.

So I spoke about the very large, scaly, elephant in the room.

I put my hand on Zion's knee. He looked away.  We were all talking about us, not Joseph.

As I was reading the story...I couldn't help but see the similarities to our story. But they are children.  I thought they were taking it at face value.

I spoke up.

"We will never, ever, ever, ever, ever....ever....say it was worth it.  Never.  No matter what God does with our story and how he redeems it. It will never be 'worth it' in our minds. The ends won't justify the means.  We will always be heartbroken over our story. Always.  But.."

There were now tears.  Azahria was weepy.  Azlan was looking back and forth at Zion and Azahria watching how they were doing. Zion's eyes were full...on the verge of spilling over.

"God will redeem. It's what He does. He can take any mess meant for evil and make something beautiful.  But it won't lessen the pain.  It won't erase the horror.  It just won't.  But it will still be beautiful. Somehow. Someway. It's just what God does. Just like with Joseph. He had to leave the room to sob.  Years later. Now in a whole different position. The emotion was right there."

Zion looked at me. "Yeah. You knew what I was talking about all along, right?"

Yeah.

Dean said to me last night..."someday this will all be a memory. A horrific memory...but a distant horrific memory." And I long for that.  Because right now? My heart physically hurts.  It hurts.  Some nights...? It hurts to breathe. It hurts to think.  It hurts to remember. It hurts to not remember.  It hurts to smile.  It just hurts.

I think I'm used to hard things and pain that get better and easier with time.  But this...? No.  Not this.

Time reinforces our reality.  I don't know how to see the last 6 years.  I can't unsee them.  I can't un-remember.  And my memories are so very different from what we now know was our reality.

I have always said that my strength and my weakness are the same.  I am all or ... nothing.  Awesome when I'm all...right?  I've worked very hard to be all. All...not nothing.  And for the last 6 years I can honestly say I gave all. 100%.  I loved with abandon.  I gave everything.  100%.

So...right now? My heart is 100% broken. 100% shattered.  All.

The depths that I feel this horrendous loss is so extreme.  I've never said "I can't..." so much in my life.  And some how, some way...I find the strength to find my "can".  Even here.  Even in this.

How will God redeem this story? Each piece of it? So very complex.  Yet, He knows. All of it. And all of us.

Though I will always say "it wasn't worth it"...I pray the pain someday...somehow...lessens. As God continues to write this story.  Each story.