Like countless times before, we followed the map and parked outside an unfamiliar home. With a sense of nervousness and unease, we inwardly analyzed the home…
Would we know by simply walking by their house? Do their neighbours know? What can be glean about them from the materialistic shell that houses them?
“I’ll park the car here and then you can run in.” Dave said. But my mind raced for what I’d say, coming up flat; ’cause nothing I could say would be right. And for this “miss fixit,” that’s not good enough.
The truth is, in cases like this, I most times put my foot in my mouth or say things that make me sound like a cold hearted idiot with her head in the clouds, kind of like those families who choose to sweep their [obvious and public] junk under the rug and pretend it’s not there, because dealing with it is just too painful or uncomfotable.
Yup, that’s me when it comes to tradegy, suffering and loss. But not because I’d rather be ignorant, but simply because I can’t relate.
When my baby brother passed away at six months old, I was six. And while I cannot blame that instance for my ways of coping altogether, I’d say they’ve shaped the way I handle grief more than I care to admit. Around grief, my inner six year old puts up a protective shield to box my heart and chooses to believe life is like a storybook ; everything will be ok! I’d rather run through the fields in the other direction and frolic carelessly, than sit in silence shedding tears. I’d rather go on and get busy playing, to keep me from thinking and mask the pain with distraction. It’s as if simply acknowledging, let alone realizing the weight of the situation, will somehow crush this tender child like soul and break it into a million pieces – an unreparable clay pot that forever leaks after being dropped. Yes, I’d prefer to wrap myself in invisible bubble wrap, bouncing reality off my imaginery six-year olds cape.
You’d think that at that very moment in my life, when I heard the words “It’s your brother. He’s passed away,” I stopped maturing in this facet of emotional coping.
I don’t know why I signed up to be a meal maker, making and delivering food to those in hardship. Somehow I thought it would be fun and my pretty cupcakes would somehow magically bring a smile that heals all wounds. But it’s been anything but and my naive optimism can only blind me for so long. Each passing visit, gets harder.
My non-dealing and squeamish coping becomes more evident and what registers, is my innability to relate… or my desire to even want to. As if somewhere deep in my subcontious I believe I’ll be next if I get too close and register their pain.
So I’ll do anything to try and avoid going in… being the one to physically hand the meal over to those recieving it. Bringing me full circle to the point, where Dave gave me no choice but to do it and do it alone.
To be honest, it’s not my first time, but today it felt harder because this women was not afraid to talk. She wanted to share how she was feeling, the details of her experience, the all consuming grief that surrounds her family. And this lady [me] can do nothing but stare blankly, with “Im so sorry’s” on repeat and an inner mantra begging me to think of something else to say! I leave kicking myself, repeating every stupid thing I said and all I didn’t but should’ve.
I wish that day had been different and I had news of some great revealtion in how to comfort. But what I did glean was the discovery of something different; hope and joy in Christ beyond circumstance.
“Compared to whats coming, living conditions around here seem like a stop over in an unfinished shack… We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies. The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” 2 Corinthians 5: 2-5
This woman takes things day by day , focusing on what’s in front of her- tasks, people and sensations. She trusts in God, moment by moment, for the strength to get through every day- to do what she needs to do and do it with hope for tomorrow and joy. Because all she has right infront of her is this moment and it alone, no different than you or I.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
“God wants us to hope- hope in something bigger; way bigger than today! He desires for us to believe in Him and the place that he is preparing for us… to actually hope in it and dare I say it, LIVE for it.” Jennie Allen
But instead I trust in myself, my talents and God given capabilities. I seek the council and worldly advice of others, just like myself. I listen to preachers, speakers and evangelists, running to them rather than their own teacher. And subconciously, I spend my days chasing the shiny luster this world offers- things, achievement, money, influence- the plea to matter and make a difference. Don’t we all, when we’re brutally honest with ourselves?
But on that day, when we get the news that the end is drawing near, [because not one of us is exempt and statistics show 10/10 of us will die], will any of that matter or have the magical power to save us from our predicament?
What would I do, how would I react, who would I run to? No doubt none of the above, but simply….stop. pray. and God above.
So, why do I trust in the frivolous and freeting things of this world now? Will it take tradgedy for me to lean on him completely?
If I was diagnosed tomorrow with terminal cancer, how would I change? Let’s not wait to find out, but do it now.