Sunday, August 14, 2011
I have seen too much loss in the last couple of weeks. Big losses. Wake-up-and-think-about-them-again losses. Nothing –you-can-do-to-change-it losses.
Life, mostly, but not only.
I have a friend who is getting a divorce. I understand the good and bad that melt together in that season and it makes me sad. I want to get her past those days into the next season. The one where she will be re-building, re-identifying herself and her purpose. I want her to get to the season where she feels good about herself again, full of confidence and hope.
But I can’t. She is in the deleting season and it must be lived to get to the next place.
So I pray and ask God to help her through.
I have another friend whose only child was diagnosed with leukemia and then gone in three weeks time. Three long, life-filled, overwhelming weeks.
The obituary would say some lovely words about his being a husband and father, perhaps make mention of his new, exciting business. But there aren’t enough words to describe how much this man meant to his family. He was healthy, strong, young just at the cusp of making a deep impression on the world. And now he’s gone. I have cried many tears for this young man and for his father, my friend. I don’t understand why some things happen. It makes me sad.
So I pray for my friend and his family and hope they see God stringing the threads together to make them stronger.
The tragedy undermines the heaviness of the other sad news – my friend whose twins were born much too soon. Struggling for life in a plastic cube an hour away from all of their family, they begin this life alone, together, and I pray for their miracles to build mountains for them. On the same day, my son was diagnosed with a troublesome, bothersome, persistent condition that will complicate things for him when he least expects it.
So I pray for them that they will see the gift and not the challenge of life.
Finally, a long time friend is found in his chair. It had been two days since he was last seen. Someone wondered where he was and they found him, sleeping eternally.
My writer’s mind seeks justice to bring balance. Where is God? What is this about? What is He thinking? My logical friends tell me God isn’t really real and I’m clutching straws. Life happens and you just have to deal with it. My education tells me to think it through, write it out, analyze it and set it on a shelf for someone else to think about, write about, analyze.
I have had difficult seasons before. Closer than the one degree of separation of this season. Maybe that’s why this sadness affects me more? I am brought back to other, closer, sadder days.
This circle brings me back to my friend sleeping in his chair. Funny, but I can’t imagine him sitting still. I see him laughing with a bag of groceries in his hand, “I brought some breakfast.” Eggs, potatoes, onions, butter. Not very healthy, but very filling, especially when served with a little flirtatious teasing and a lot of compassion. Stone soup perfected!
I see his youthful strength and confidence. No fear. No failure. Somehow everything would work out allright. Somehow, mostly, it did. Unexpected kind words smoothed the dark days. And laughter. Wow… we laughed in those days. Strains of Janis flitting in the background, living on the underside of poverty with nothing left to lose, we laughed.
We talked much of God in those days. Never doubting His presence, never doubting His grace. Not quite sure about how to apply it and who He would accept, but sure in our knowledge that somehow He would make it allright. He would figure it out. And He did.
Time, distance, more life separated my path from my sleeping friend, but the impressions remained. What we have to give, we ought to give. When we can share a kindness, we should. Laughter does good, like a medicine. Believe in Someone greater than yourself. Trust Him, even when you can’t see Him. Don’t be afraid to love.
I can’t solve the great theological debates to answer the question of where is God in bad days, but I know He is there. His comfort surrounds me. I pray my friends see Him, too, in their dark days. I pray He is tangible to them and they know how much He loves them.
I guess that’s really the writer’s answer to sad days. We pray.
Oddly enough, when I pray, I see the immensely good things that God sends to bring me balance. The flowers picked for me and the little gentlemen whose generosity is outshined only by their shy smiles. The tender touch of angelbabies who just want to be held. The co-workers laughing in complicity over nothing. The warmth of the sun kissing my skin on a perfect summer walk.
Life is life and we just simply must live it. Good and bad jumbled together.