I’m not these things alone, but I can relate, across the board.
If you know me at all, you know the answer to the title’s questions are apt to change, sometimes about as predictably as the wind blows. I’m not joking.
Many people comment on my faith, my strength, my love and passion for people, and for life. Daily, people mention these things. It is during the most broken of days that I hear it the most. When the pain seems unbearable, it is the love filled, encouraging words that make a tremendous difference.
You know I love practical examples. This is no different. I often share that words matter. That they make a difference. I say that about hugs as well. This example will explain more.
Since my little girl died a year ago next month, I haven’t been the same. Some days, I feel like I might just survive, while on other days I feel so broken. Just shattered. I haven’t been very involved in my church, and I’ve been questioning my own faith, beliefs, and if I’m being honest – God Himself.
On January 1st, I made the decision to go back to church. A new beginning, if you will. Deep inside, I knew I still had (and, for a long time, will likely have) some hard questions. Brokenness. Pain. But also healing. Love. And, I knew that surrounded by other people, being reminded of what love looks like – that’s what my heart longed for.
A special encounter happened, but the significance – the other individual wasn’t really privy to. They knew enough, more than most. But, the difference was their being intentional. They asked how things are medically (that’s a separate update, for another day) and just all the way around. They shared love and compassion – and a willingness to just do life with me, to sit with me in my pain. At one point, there were simply no words. In response, a hug was offered. In lieu of words, hug are the best. Hugs can often speak the things our hearts can’t. This was that moment.
But, what they had no way of knowing was a little more of the significance. See, I write more on this blog than is released publicly. Call it self preservation. Call it self care. Call it sanity saving. You could even call it fear. But, this is a blog post I wrote very recently. (In December, actually. I’ll go back and make it public after this post.)
Here is what I wrote:
The title might be alarming. It should be. I cannot predict all the words that are about to flow, but I’m going to free write. If I think it, I’ll write it. So, here we go.
Death is a heavy topic. Death doesn’t hold unlimited power. It doesn’t have the final word. It is the end of one life, and the beginning of another.
But, the allure of death? How could something so heavy and somber have an allure? Let me explain.
I do not fear death. If I’m being honest, I long for it some days.
For those of you psychoanalyzing my words, please save yourself the trouble – and, don’t! I’ll save you the time. I’ll break down my thoughts in a way that don’t scare you.
When I said I long for it some days, I’ll assure you – I have no plans to speed the process along. (I’m not suicidal.) But, I’ll say this.
Never before have I wanted to not be living as much as I do now – but – on the flip side, never before have I wanted to live more than I do right now. I don’t want to die. I do, however, have moments where I wish I just didn’t exist. Sometimes this reality feels too much to bear. Sometimes, I feel too much. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I can go on another moment – let alone days, weeks, months or years.
But, I can.
And, I will.
There are days I hurt. I feel pain so deeply, that my only response is tears. At any given time. For pretty much any reason.
Let’s circle back around to the idea that death could possibly hold allure. See, as I mentioned previously, it is my belief that death isn’t the end. I believe in life after death – in Heaven or hell. I believe that when you die, you’re not eternally separated from those you love. I believe you will see those you love again in what many call the afterlife.
My daughter died ten months ago, after a three year journey with brain cancer. The allure death holds is that I will get to see her (and lots of other people I miss) again.
Stop the psychoanalysis!
If you are concerned or worried, I understand. But, because I know the deep pain associated with losing someone you love dearly, I wouldn’t do anything to remove myself from the equation either. I hurt deeply because I love deeply. Suicide isn’t okay. It isn’t fair. And it leaves ripples, and touches generations. So no, that option is off the table.
I just don’t fear death anymore, and this all explains why.
That encounter had nothing to do with that writing. However, God’s grace had everything to do with it. It was a moment in time that gave my heart a voice. It was a moment in time that served as a catalyst to helping rekindle not only my faith in people and church again, but also in the heart of God again. His heart took human form that day.
It has taken the time from then until now (just a couple days) for me to process this, and recognize why there was such significance. The whole thing was an answer to prayer.
Yesterday, I had several people ask how I was. And, I could honestly say that “I think I’m okay today” and I meant it. I smiled, realizing that I felt loved – by the God of all creation, and also people. Today, I feel like I actually had a good day.
I feel like this is cause for celebration. I’m learning about the vital nature of self care, and of celebrating the little things in life too. Not only the giant, monumental things.
So, with a guarded heart, I celebrate today. Guarded because I fear that the world may drop out from under me at any given moment, and the feeling okay right now will come crumbling down around me. But, I am making a choice in this moment to not borrow worry or “what ifs” from tomorrow. That only robs the joy from today.
But, if it does – if the world drops from under my feet, I won’t be alone – and I know that. That makes all the difference. And, I am grateful.