What have I been up to since my last post? Existing. Healing. Dreaming. Living. Longing. Worshiping.
Existing...Just 15 days after my last post, my Mom died unexpectedly. Her death made the 9th loss in our family since 2011, I think. It has all blurred together for me. Five days after Mom died, we lost another family member. We were still reeling from the deaths of my father-in-law and my grandpa...as well as all the other losses, that I (we) stopped living and started existing. It's a terrible, dark place to be. I recall not being able to pray...not even able to groan out my pain to God. I specifically member laying in my dark bedroom on my side...wanting to speak out a prayer and couldn't and in my mind and heart I "said", "Lord, please don't let me go. Just don't let me go." God knew right were I was and He met my need...a need that I couldn't even speak out loud. He didn't let me go. He held me tight. He wrapped His loving arms around my broken spirit, heart and mind. Over time, I was able to eek past existing and began...
Healing...Healing is such a painful process. It's confusing, scary, sometimes agonizing...other times some happiness sneaks in...followed by guilt. By the time my Mom died, we'd lived here 3.5 years, I think. We'd never used our dining room as anything other than storage. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling storage. It was filled with the things of the loved ones we'd lost...Hubby's dad, his mom, his grandma, my grandpa, unpacked boxes from moving here...etc. Then, we just added Mom's stuff to it as well. This room of boxed up grief nearly consumed us. We tried several times to go through the boxes. The smell of my mom's apartment permeated her boxes of things and I found myself curled up in tears on the floor more often than not. But one day, I'd decided I was feeling stronger and began the task of going through things one. box. at. a. time. I can't recall how many weeks it took to empty out the "dining room" but with each empty box that I tossed I found just a little bit more healing as I reclaimed bits of my life back.
Dreaming...of a better day. Of a clean house and order in my home. Of a restored mind and heart. Of happiness. Of laughter. Of joy. Those things seemed out of reach for so long.
Living...I'll never forget the night I noticed a jet flying overhead and the stars twinkling. I used to love watching jets at night...wondering where they came from and where they were headed. Actually, I love watching them during the day as well. Traveling fascinates me. But when you're just existing, you don't notice the jets anymore. Or the stars twinkling. Or the scent of spring rain. Or the claps of thunder. Or your child needing extra time with you. Or a spouse that is struggling too. Or a car that hasn't had an oil change in 8000 miles. 8000 miles? Have a I traveled somewhere? Where did I go? Was I alone? Short term memory loss is devastating. But LIVING! Living creeps in, a little at a time. Yes, daughter, I have enough mental and physical energy to take you for ice cream. Yes, spouse, thank you for doing laundry all these months because without you, we wouldn't have clean clothing. I no longer stand in the kitchen and cry at the thought of simply deciding what to fix for supper. Then walking away hungry because I couldn't figure things out.
Longing...to be completely whole. See, when you just exist there's no energy to long for wholeness. There's no energy to long for healing. You don't care if there's clean clothes or groceries in the house. But after some healing comes and you start living again, clarity of mind allows you to start longing for what you've missed along this journey. I now long to help others through their grief. Sixteen days after my last post, I lay on my closet floor, grieving hard enough to want to die. I couldn't take any more loss. But now, I long for happy days. I long to spend time with my non-stop-talking little girl. I long to make new friends. I long to travel. I long to be in church and be involved. It feels good to long again. "...As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God." Psalm 41:1 NLT
Worshiping...While I never stopped loving God through these years of loss, I also wasn't in a place of thankfulness for my trials. I'd lost appreciation for the Scripture that says "In ALL things, give thanks." (I Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.) I didn't see any blessing in my losses. I didn't see anything good about any of it at all. I wasn't thankful. Just keeping it real here. But on the other side of the existing, healing, dreaming, living and longing, I can see God's hand in my every day, my every moment, my very second of pain and grief. I rejoice that He answered the longing of my heart when my mind cried out, "Just don't let me go!". I can worship Him for bringing me through waters that nearly drowned me. Am I thankful for my losses? No. But I am very thankful for His sustaining power, for His strength to make it through, for those He allowed me to love for a time, for His Word that comforts, sustains, heals and helps me.
So, in a nut shell, that's what I've been up to these past 20 months. Ain't it funny how time slips away?