I haven’t written in a while. It is not from lack of thinking and planning-more a lack of execution. Lately I feel kind of like I am walking through knee deep wet sand. Every step is calculated and labored. It surprised me too, this walking-through-wet-sand-grief. I am finding grief is sneaky, and it steals from you little bits, lotsa bits if you let it.
Last September my dad went to work one day, left in the middle of the day after a meeting and didn’t go back. Last September everything changed, even if we didn’t know how much yet, even if it had been changing all along without us knowing at all. In November we found out the probable diagnosis. The Dr. called my mom and told her the feared and unwelcome news “between you and me…Alzheimer’s”. When she told me on the phone that night I felt the vomit coming up in my throat and the silent tears spilling out of my eyes. Everything seemed blurry, the room rushed and spun around me. There was nothing to grasp onto. When Peter came down from putting the kids to bed, he found me collapsed on the dining room floor, clinging to the leg of a chair.
Two Novembers ago Peter came home from a family Doctor’s appointment for his dad. He sat with me on the couch. He bristled. He stared. I rubbed his back. Rubbed my swollen stomach as if trying to pacify the kicking baby in my stomach. We sat. Silence and sobs shook us both. “Stage 4” they said. Suddenly life looked much different.
Words can pack such more meaning than their syllables convey. One word can change not just the mood, the circumstance, but your life. In a moment, and with two words, spread across the span of four seasons, our lives came to look so much different. Everything changed. Everything was colored, as if even the things that weren't directly changed were somehow touched by the ripples these words left as they dropped themselves right into the center of our lives. Each time the one word news came upon us all I could muster was a whispered one word prayer. The only word I know stronger that “Cancer”, stronger than “Alzheimer’s”. I whispered “Jesus”. And many times since it has been all I have been able to whisper in between the sobs, in between the questions, in between the gulps and gasps for air, the fear, the deep pain that doubles me over at the waist.
I whisper only for my ears and His, the name that brings me peace, the name of the anchor of my Hope, the name that intercedes on my behalf giving words to the groanings of my soul. And nothing changes, but suddenly everything is different.
Grief is sneaky, but it can’t hide from my Jesus. It is powerful, but nothing is more powerful than my Hope. I don’t have to understand it. I sure as heck don’t like it. But in the grief that suddenly leaves me without air, I know where my comfort comes from.
I have so many more thoughts on this-so much more of the ways God has used this grief, these one word diagnosises to draw me closer to Him, to teach me things I would otherwise never have learned, to comfort me and change me in ways I am thankful for beyond words. I can’t type them now. I will try to share some of it soon. God has been changing me. He has been chiseling at me for a while. Turns out chiseling is painful and sometimes I want to run from it, but bit by bit God is revealing something beautiful. He is chiseling away at my pride, my selfishness, my lack of faith, my foolishness, my insecurities. Basically He has been chiseling hard, and with a purposeful, masterful hand at my heart. And I am in many ways raw. But when I get a glimpse I can see slowly it is becoming something a bit more beautiful, because I see more and more of Jesus there. The beauty is not my own. It is His. His work. His beauty. His glory.