October 10-16: On the Inside

Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.                                                                 Eric Liddell

The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die.            Psalm 116:15

I’ve kept a journal off and on since middle school, and in the last many years, that journal has become less a record and more of a conversation with God. Finding the time to be alone/create a space for that quiet and introspection was not always easy, with kids who had to catch the bus at ungodly hours, and then the adoption of a cat who acts more like a toddler and never wants me out of his sight.  So last May, I finally decided to take over the basement.  I could shut the door on the cat and actually focus. Plus, with Mark home for the summer, I borrowed his Keurig so I could brew my required cup of coffee without needing to go to the kitchen (which is near where the cat is kept at night – I know: ridiculous) at all. This space has become my sanctuary.

In that first week after Mark died, I only got to the basement a few times, and when I did, I actually attempted – because I am a ridiculously routine-minded person – to go through the same motions as before: coffee, devotionals, bible passage for the day. But there was no solace to be found there. Instead I just cried through boxes of tissues; I begged God for answers, and I spent hours on Facebook, enveloped in the love and shared sadness I found there.

We’ve all heard about the stages of grief (and it turns out they are more what a dying person goes through vs. what someone who is grieving experiences), but I doubt that anyone goes through them in “order;” rather, they occur all at once and in a jumble. I felt as though my entire body and soul were contorted into a primal scream of pain and unending, angry questions.

ALL THAT POTENTIAL, GOD! WHAT WAS THE POINT?

HOW CAN HE BE GONE??? THIS DOESN’T FEEL REAL!!!!

WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?? WHY DON’T YOU ANSWER ME???

WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN US???

WHERE IS OUR REASSURANCE??

HOW CAN WE KNOW HE IS REALLY, TRULY SAFE???

SHOW HIM TO ME!  YOU OWE ME, GOD!!!! SHOW HIM TO ME!!!!

I couldn’t stop crying. I don’t know how our bodies can produce so many tears. I raged, I fumed to the point of exhaustion. I wasn’t done…I wanted to keep being his mom, to help him get to manhood.  My job…my only real, important job…is to see that my children are safe. Certainly God could understand that?

I’ve been raised in the church; I know my stuff. I know I am supposed to trust God no matter what, to see beyond my circumstances, that this fallen world full of pain and brokenness is not our final resting place. And I do believe all of that. But this, this atrocity, this tragedy… felt like God had slapped me full across the face and walked away.

There was no answer.

But I knew one thing (really, from the moment I found out he was gone — no longer here in his physical body): I would never stop looking for Mark.

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