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Hope that Clings to You

I feel like I’m jumping into the middle of a conversation.  One about grief and sorrow.  And healing.  And hope.  Lots and lots of hope.  Hope when you don’t feel it.  Hope when you don’t want it.  Hope when you don’t actively cling to it.  It clings to you.

I was looking back in my journal from last year.  December versus December.  371 days of fractured faith repairing itself. I was struck comparing the raw place I was in just three days after the memorial service compared to how far God has brought me to date.  It’s so much further than I thought it could ever be.

(10:00am) Wednesday, 12/5/12

I’m still in so much shock that this all happened.  And the shock is with the preparation You gave me.  You told me she had six months.  And it was nearly exact.  To the very day.  These days I feel like I’m praying out of habit and not faith. I pray for strength but I have no belief that You will answer that prayer.

But I pray anyway.  Robotically.  Habitually.  Thankful somewhere deep inside of me that I can’t not pray.

I miss her… and while I’m trying this morning to get back into a normal routine, living a normal life that she grieved the loss of, I do so with a keen awareness that putting one foot in front of the other helps me to move on… but it also gives distance to those last days.  The last hugs.  Last smiles and hand squeezes.

Time moving on pours salt on the wound.

The clock ticks and my heart aches.  Memories flood in.

The morning Shawna died… God orchestrated perfectly.  Scott’s phone stopped working late the night before during a routine software update.  I woke up early to Josh flying out the door to fix it.  All those photos we took.  Those last weeks. Everything was on that phone.  Inaccessible.

He was there at the kitchen table for a couple of hours.  Trying everything to get that phone working again.  He wouldn’t have normally been there that early.  She was in so much pain.  He went in and helped turn her for the last time.  He told me later that when he turned her, she began speaking quietly.  Unrecognizable words beneath her breath.  A holy conversation reserved for another audience.

Shortly after, he took the kids out of the house.

About that time, I was twenty minutes away.  I had just gotten out of the shower and felt the sudden urge to pray.  So I sat on the edge of the bed.  Get on your knees.  With knees bent and head buried deep in that small space between bed and closet, I soaked the carpet with tears.  Tell her it’s ok to let go, I begged.  Tell her it’s ok because nobody else can.  Only You.  She’ll only listen to You.  As I knelt there, I saw a crowd of people cheering.  Yelling.  Clapping.  Dressed in white. Everything was white.  There was so much white.  And I saw Shawna running.  And somehow I was running alongside her.  Seeing her off.  Right up to the end.  At the moment she died.  Literally praying her into heaven.

(11:45am) Thursday, 12/6/12

My heart hurts.  Physically hurts.  I tried to sit down and work this morning but all I can do is stare at the screen.

Christmas is coming and I want to just skip right over it.  No energy to decorate.  Can’t even listen to Christmas music.  And I love Christmas music.

How do you navigate through the sea of grief when your body is numb?  Heavy.  I just want to sink.  I can’t kick.  Can’t swim.  Can’t fight to keep my head above water.  Thank You God that You anchor my soul…

Even in writing these words now – a full year later, I wrestle with the point.  How to sum this journey up in a pretty little bow that points everything back to Jesus.

What’s the lesson in all this?  What was the point of all that?  I might not know for awhile.  I might not ever know.  But, for now, I take good old fashioned pen to paper.  And write as articulately as I can here.  Praying that the words I write will give a voice to a grieving spirit.  That they would provide understanding for people that aren’t walking through grief and loss but might know someone that is.  Use my words to create empathy in the people that read them.  To teach someone how to embrace the supportive role.  How to love.  Use these wrestling mornings to give some solid salve to an aching heart.

I suppose I feel like I’m jumping into the middle of a conversation because, really, I am.  An ongoing conversation with the LORD that I’m sharing bits and pieces of here as the clarity comes and as He guides.  So I’m going to stop assuming that you’re reading fresh, and start assuming that you’ve read from the beginning.  That you know the story. And continue the conversation as it comes.  As He speaks it.  As all the pieces start fitting together.  Word by word.  Chapter by chapter.

And for now.  For today.  I can say this:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  (Psalm 27:13).

Unless God had been with me… (Genesis 31:42)

Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.  No tears.  That, in and of itself, is a miracle.

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