Where do I spend most of my days? Am I stuck in the past of the "good ole days" when life was a lot easier? I look at pictures of us before Quinn died and I think... "You poor girl. You have no idea what is about to hit you. You are about to be struck with great sadness." WM. Paul Young describes this great sadness perfectly in his book The Shack. He states:
"He ate, worked, loved, dreamed, and played in this garment of heaviness, weighed down as if he
were wearing a laden bath robe- trudging daily through the murky despondency that sucked the
color out of everything. At times he could feel The Great Sadness slowly tightening around
his chest and heart like crushing coils of a constrictor, squeezing liquid from his eyes until
he thought there no longer remained a reservoir."
That is a lot of what my days now consist of. I have laughed again and I have dreamt again, but not without a garment of heaviness. It is as if I am captive to this sadness. It is my ball and chain and even if I do go about my normal day, my grief is always there. Physically it feels like I'm never getting a full breath, like my chest is just so tight and heavy.
But the future... that is where I spend most of my time contemplating. Will I feel like this forever? When it is Quinn's 12th birthday will it still hurt like it does now? What if I'm in the same place? What if this is the end of our story? What if we never have any more kids? What if the same thing happens to future children? I fear the future. I think I am trying to plan ahead so I can avoid feeling like this years down the road. But what I've recently realized is that when I look to the future and fear, I forget one key piece of the puzzle of life- God. God is not part of the future I fear. I talk, sing, and write about God's love that never fails me, and yet I don't allow it to follow me into the future. He is already there.
Most importantly, this is not where God wants me to live. He wants me to live in the present. The verses I've always liked, but are vital for my survival in this circumstance come from Matthew 6:33-34:
Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So
don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have it's own worries. Each day has enough
trouble of its own.
I wrote in an earlier blog about facing the darkness, experiencing the grief so that healing may begin. Part of that facing the darkness is experiencing the grief that today brings and taking it moment by moment. This is all part of the journey. As Christians we think we should handle suffering differently, that God will heal us of it sooner than the rest of society. That when we pray for those we love we should pray the suffering out of their life. When really that is not always what we need. Suffering is part of our journey to our best selves, it is part of the journey to coming to a spot where we are leaning not on our own understanding, but on God. Larry Crabb in his book Shattered Dreams writes this from the perspective of God,
"I have called you not to the secular journey where you must make everything in your life now as
pleasant as possible. I have called you to the spiritual journey, to a process of enlarging your heart
to desire Me above everything else. Do not be troubled by all the dreams that will shatter while you
remain on earth. You will feel deep pain. But every sorrow you experience will be used by My Spirit
to deepen your desire for Me."
So daily I have to remind myself to just get through the trial of this moment. That even though I am experiencing deep pain, that it is all part of the journey. And that someday I will experience what Isaiah 61:3-4 speaks of:
I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow,
and a garment of praise for their heaviness... They will rebuild the old ruins and restore the
places destroyed long ago.