Monday, March 10, 2014
Tired this evening. It's 9:18pm on a Friday night. I can hear my little boy talking up a storm from his crib. So far I've heard about 23 different version of "Wheels on the Bus" and something about a fox going up "so, so high!" I put him to sleep around 7:45pm, which may sound like a cruel amount of time to leave a toddler in his crib, but trust me, he is JUST FINE. Baker spends zero time alone during the day except for naptime. He is social to the core and spends the majority of his time latching on to me, Eric or Harper in whatever we are doing. He's a joiner that one. Love him for it. So some time playing alone in his crib in the late evening is probably good for him. Harper is alseep after telling me in great detail about the zoo she will own with her husband someday. It will include peacocks, tigers, honeybadgers and king snakes. Her dad will work there as the animal cleaner. I am also allowed to work there but she knows I'm deathly afraid of snakes so she will just let me hang out near the peacocks. As for me, I hit a wall at about 7:44pm. This is not uncommon for me as of late. I am recovering from shingles. That's right, shingles! I mean really, who gets shingles at 33?! And for the second time? (I'm 98% sure I had them when I was 12, on the same nerve tracking from my left ear forward to my mouth. I couldn't go to some girl's pool party because of it and one does not forget such a disappointment). I'll dig more into the lovely details of the most recent shingles debacle some other time, but I can say that the symptoms have a tendency to linger. Nothing awful, which I'm grateful for. I have heard stories of waaaaayyyy worse. But I'm just pretty zapped. But as tired as I am, I'm also struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, which is a wonky combination. I am NOT one who struggles to sleep. Ever. Me and sleep, we are tight! Always have been. But I hear this is normal and will resolve over time. And honestly it's a little hard to tease apart what is causing me to be sleepy lately. Sure, I have two quite small children and we do full time ministry, but those factors have been present for a while now. Nothing new there. The reality is it has been a long, difficult 6 months. And I am weary. I am very sure that part of this writing journey through the Lent season will be, for me, a necessary part of a healing process. The past 6 months of our life has been marked by loss. Loss upon loss. I am tempted to detail these losses right here and now, but I can't. I just can't. It's not because it's too painful, although it could be. It's not because I'm in denial. I am not. I just know now is not the time. When I've tried to force myself to process my emotions about the loss it's like trying to squeeze juice out of unripe fruit. I get a few drops here and there but end up mostly frustrated. But there have been other moments that have come upon me like an unwelcome wave and knocked me off my feet. Grief is like that, I suppose. It comes when it chooses and leaves when it's ready. And I have very little say in the matter. This frustrates me more than I've been willing to admit, this inability to control the grief process. I know how important it is to process emotions. I really do. As a counselor I know it to be true but more just as a human being. Picture with me the different emotions that we might experience throughout a given day or season in life - joy, sadness, disappointment, anger, anticipation, frustration, elation, fear. Some of them are pleasant, welcomed, feelings we don't want to go away. Others feel awful, make us squirm, and we resist them. But they are both necessary. They are the necessary parts of our construct by which God brings us through a world that is horribly broken and being fully redeemed all at once. When we allow ourselves to feel the emotions as they are, even when they are painful or uncomfortable, we allow that emotion to do its part in transforming us. It stays however long it needs to, poking and prodding. Joy awakens sleepy souls. Fear stands to move us into deeper waters where we find we are not drowning after all. Disappointment sobers us and brings us back to the only One who can satisfy. Frustration sharpens us, teaches us to wait. We let the emotion run its course and we find Jesus, our champion and brother, carrying us from moment to moment, day to day, season to season, as we become more and more and more free. When we resist the emotion, hide from it, run from it, or deny it all together, we are far from free. Emotions that were meant to be passing through take up permanent residence in our souls. Sadness turns to depression, anger to rage, disappointment to disillusionment. And they dig in deep, like rocks that settle into a riverbed and alter the way the water flows. We cannot make sense of life or relationships when this happens. Our perspective is murky and our hearts calloused. And we are very, very far from free. The good news is Jesus perseveres with us even still. He can take the most detached of people and bring them to new life in a moment. I've seen it happen. Thank you, Jesus, for not growing weary with us. But grief has been tricky for me. I can't seem to get ahead of it. I can't seem to be put words to it in any way that seems sufficient. I can't seem to make it fit into my daily life which requires me to wake up and go. I can only open the door when it knocks and let it in. And to not be afraid. So bear with me, and in time, I'll tell the story. I'll remember the friends that we've lost. I'll let the river flow and flow freely. And maybe.....no, not maybe....SURELY I will be more free for having done so.