Andrew leaving. My twenty-two year old son, Kris, settling into Oregon and getting married next month. His sweet fiancee moving from my house back to Colorado to prepare for the wedding...all within a few days.
Who knew how much this stuff would hurt? Let me tell you, it sure does. And all the avoidance methods I've worked so many years to perfect aren't strong enough to hold back the pain. Crap (and by "crap" I really mean the other word).
Denial - pretending I don't care - nope. I do care.
Distraction - TV, books, hot baths, sleep, excessive use of Mafia Wars, and the like - nope. Just not fun enough or important enough.
Drunkenness - let's see...well, since around 1989, that's lost its appeal. Thankfully, I can enjoy a glass of wine or two, but the total obliteration of getting wasted is not an option.
So that kind of leaves another "D": Dealing with it.
This is really no fun, but I don't see a way around it. As a Christian, I know I need to "turn to God". What does this look like? I mean what, exactly, does that entail?
Most of us will say, "Pray, and read the Bible". That is a standard reply. But does it work? When we pray, does He answer? What kind of help is it to pray, really? What practical help in relieving my intense psychic and emotional pain is to be found in the Bible?
Well, for the past many years, I probably wouldn't be able to answer that. Even though I've been with Him for twenty years, the last...umm...ten, maybe, I've been angry and resentful and bitter. God hasn't done what I wanted Him to do. I had big plans for what He'd do through me - the ministry I thought He had for me. When it didn't pan out the way I thought it should, I got pissed.
At first, it was just around the edges. A root of doubt - a whisper - planted in my heart. "Did God really say He loves you? Then why didn't He help you with this? Why didn't He save you from that? That doesn't seem loving at all, does it?"
And that awful root, un-dealt with, grew larger and stronger, like some crazy kudzu wrapping itself around my heart trying to kill the Life in me. Every disappointment, every perceived "failure" on God's part only fed the nasty vine. My prayer life withered and almost completely died. My time in the Word - ditto.
These two activities used to literally be my life-lines. I hungered to spend time with God every morning. It fed me, kept me stronger than Wheaties ever could! Losing this very nearly killed me, I'm realizing. I can't explain what it's like, that connection - but it's real, and good, and necessary.
So now, just as I'm recognizing this massive black hole in me, along come more "challenges" to my weakly fluttering faith. And the temptation is to once again, get angry at God for not making things go the way I sincerely think they should.
But I am not God. I do not know the whole story. Frankly, I don't need to or want to. And that's the truth.
How do I combat the temptations to doubt Him? I don't have that totally figured out. That's what church and Therapist Lisa, and Manager Kimi, and my Gorgeous Son, Kris and my Awesome Daughter, Kelsey are for. They are helping me pull my eyes off the things I can't have. They are helping me fix my eyes on what I do have. Like a friend to walk in the park with. Like a therapist who prays for me, like a sweet son who likes to spend time with me, just talking, and a daughter who will rub my feet and yell at the little kids when I am too worn down to.
I also have some really fine memories of my life this far. The kids that have come through my homes ('cause we've moved a lot), times spent at gymnastics meets and football games, reading to the kids and praying with them before bedtime, camping in the rain at the beach, Awesome Daughter Kesley making Thanksgiving dinner when she was fifteen because My Precious Boy Kameron and I were in ICU - again! I have so many many things to be grateful for.
And I am.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8,9 ESV
Philippians 4:8,9 ESV