It was while scrolling Facebook that I found a lot of posts about my brother. People who had been thinking about him, missing him, talking about him, commenting on old posts from before he died. One will pop up from time to time. I can expect multiple around his birthday and in mid-July. But when multiple came up and caught me unaware my brain did the thing in does when it tries to just glaze over things; it turned to fuzz. I got out of bed, went to the kitchen, poured a bowl of Lucky Charms and started my day. I never sat and had a moment that I so needed. It was while in the middle of trying to send a work email that I realized my brain wasn't functioning. I stared at the computer screen as if it would answer emails for me and solve the problems of the day. So I closed my laptop. And I went to the spot that I should have gone to as soon as my feet hit the floor (or really before I ever even flipped on the phone). I tucked my legs beneath me as I sat in the blue chair in the corner of our extra room, the one that has become my place of solace, the place to start my mornings and have God pour into me. I have been reading through a bible book for woman with different verses centered around different topics. I have been opening the book and reading through whatever topic the book opens on. This morning it was Adversity. As I read I realized I had been trying to remove my thoughts from the pain that was trying hard to get in.
Once I had taken time to read and pray, my head felt a little more clear, but my heart felt heavy. I showered and while there, the place where a lot of my thoughts seem to pour directly from my head into my heart, I had an overwhelming feeling to share the following words.
These are words written in a hurry, words that spilled from me looking for escape. They were written almost two years ago and they were words that I had never planned to share with anyone, let alone let them out into the world where they can be read for all to see. They were written after a tear filled car ride to work, where my heart broke open and I addressed fears I had been trying to avoid. I wrote them quickly from my office computer in an email to myself, knowing that no work was going to get done until they had the chance to be free.
Since writing them I have thought of them often, over many of the things I had written only for me. I have often felt this small voice saying "share them," but I pushed that voice down thinking the words were too raw, too festering, too void of any semblance of hope. But that small voice would often answer back and say, "but isn't that what we often need most; the words we are too afraid to voice aloud, the ones that tell us we aren't alone and we aren't the only ones who feel lost. Don't you think that there may be someone, who is in the throes of grief, who needs to know that the darkness doesn't last. That there is light and hope on the other side." Most days I let those whispers simmer, I tell them the time isn't right. But today my answer was different. Today I couldn't fight, I could only listen and as I write I realize how freeing this all is. To see the past and the places grief can take you and to also see where I am today and how far that grief has come, how it lingers, but in a different light, with a newer sense of hope.
My hope in sharing the following words is that if you are struggling, if the world you knew is no longer a tangible thing to you, that you know it will be alright. There is hope and you will get stronger. You will not always feel on the edge of darkness wondering how you will ever find your way out.
________________________________________I am afraid of nothing. Nothing scares me! And that scares me more than anything. I afraid of this nothingness. I am afraid of the fact that I no longer see a clear picture. I had this vision of my life. A plan that I saw at the end of my horizon. And now... Now I see nothing. The picture is no longer there. I can see today, I know what today brings. I can see the past, even in all the uncertain terms of what I thought it was. The future? I can't see that anymore. And that terrifies me. The pretty little picture I had in my head is one I am now so unsure of that I can't even picture an alternative. I had wanted kids. Boat loads of them. I wanted my own baseball team. A house full of little boys running around a big yard, with a tiny little girl chasing after them. A little girl who I would often roll my eyes about just because she would (try as I might to avoid it) be so spoiled, but who I would also envy because she would never need to know fear, knowing that she always had her brothers to protect her and keep her safe. I know pictures don't ever come out the way we plan, but now I picture nothing. The world is not an idyllic place. That little girl would never be able to live her life without knowing fear. I would bring my children into a world where I can promise them nothing. I am not sure I can do that anymore. Maybe my journey is now to love on ones that are already here, to care for them and protect them as much as I can but that picture doesn't come to mind either. It is all just blank. And that nothingness, the darkness, it makes me afraid. Afraid because my husband deserves all those things we had pictured. He deserves the chance to spoil a little girl with pig tails and his big brown eyes. He deserves the chance to teach his sons to be good men, like he is. He deserves to lead by example and this world deserves more men like him. And that terrifies me because all I can give, all I have to promise, is nothing.
And it ends there. It ends there because I had no other words, the reality of life was blinded by the hurt, the loss and the fear of future loss. So my world view shut down on me. In the midst of pain we can so often forget the hope of things still to come, the hope of things being alright because we don't see how they can be.
But then slowly, with time, pain begins to heal, leaving scar tissue behind. The pain isn't gone, we are often reminded of it, but it feels differently than it did. It feels lighter, as if somewhere, in all that darkness, someone shone a light and we slowly and achingly began to walk towards it.
The other day while talking to a friend, we were discussing the sense that ultimately we are ok and that really, that truth is one of the hardest things to wrap our heads around. When some huge, fundamental part of your life is just gone, you can't grasp the understanding of "you will be okay." But then life moves around you. It envelopes you again into the daily living, the joyful moments, and you find yourself smiling. You find yourself laughing and loving and hoping. You find yourself "alright." But alright makes less sense, because how can you be alright when something is that broken, when moments that should be shared with people who can't be here are shared anyways? And I have come to realize that I can rest in that because that is what we are called for. We are called to keep living, we are called to keep loving others and to not give up the fight. We are called to make our lost ones memories sweeter and cherish moments more dearly because we know how fleeting it all is.
And so I walk now with hope, hope and fear.
I think they so very often go hand-in-hand, don't you?!