As a blogger, if I would even dare officially consider myself one, I guess my job is to share some of the stuff that’s going on in my own life.
I’m supposed to mine my own experiences, and turn them into something transcendent or relatable for someone else, in the hopes that maybe it will resonate with them.
In the hopes that they can say, “me too.”
Then I read this. And I am still trying to remove the barbs that it thrust into me.
Is what I do pointless? Is it stupid, or meaningless? It is useless?
I try to remind myself all of the time that I write for myself. And that hopefully, in doing so, some of what I say might reach someone. Someone who wants to laugh. Someone who wants to feel like they aren’t the only one. Or maybe, someone who just can’t even anymore.
For nearly twelve years, my father has been sick. He has hepatitis c. His liver began to experience cirrhosis years ago, but the condition came to a head in 2005. Funny thing is, that word has fluttered out of my mouth at times in a high frequency over the last twelves years, but I still had to double check the spelling on it. For a long time, it was the unseen enemy, threatening everything.
He had a liver transplant in 2008. It was the weekend of my birthday. I was a new teller at a local community bank, working the second lane in the drive thru when I got the phone call from my mother.
I remember the swish of my khaki pants and how I started to cry when my mother told me that the hospital had a liver for my father as I hurriedly went and hid in the supply closet in an effort to contain myself. My joy. And my tears.
He wasn’t going to die. So many times, we thought he was going to, but now he definitely wasn’t. At least, if he could make it through the next few weeks.
“It’s over,” I thought.
Things are going to go back to normal. We celebrated all weekend, both my birthday and, seemingly, his day for rebirth. His second chance. I stole him a spoon from IHOP so that he would always have a trinket to remember such an occasion.
I have no idea where that spoon is now. And the ghosts of a family broken who thought that it was over linger.
That was eight years ago. Since then, addiction, continued and prolonged sickness, and anger have shattered my family into something unrecognizable. Something that seems unredeemable.
It’s all too much to write about for now. Maybe one day.
It’s hard enough to be someone’s caregiver, or to see someone you love struggle with sickness and poor health. But then when someone asks you how things are going and the truth is that not only is someone severely ill, but they’re also a broken person, you stop knowing how to answer the question. Because you don’t know where to start, and because they are also surrounded by broken people who have no idea how to handle all of this.
I always thought that when your life was going to be shattered, it didn’t take years. And every time I have thought that this was it, this is rock bottom and it can’t possibly get any scarier or any worse, I have been so, so wrong.
I’m probably wrong now even. There is always a way for the bottom to drop out further.
We take our own autonomy for granted so easily. It’s without question that air will flow into our lungs without much effort when we take a breath. That our bones and skin can handle an innocuous stumble, or brushing against the corner of the counter top without injury.
There are so many things that I take for granted, and yet I have watched someone lose pieces of themselves, year after year.
Every time I can’t get over what it must be like to lose every part of your physical self, I feel the truth rush to me: we are more than these bodies.
And every time you come to a portion of the bridge that has given way, and you think you cannot pass, is when you have to trust more than any other time.
It becomes the oxygen you need, the strength to your bones, the binding on your wounds.
It sounds like magic. It sounds so easy. It isn’t easy.
Sometimes, when I think that things are the worst that they have ever been, and I start looking upward for some sort of sign that I am doing this whole “faith” thing right, I always am puzzled. Is this what it feels like to trust?
This emptiness? Because that is all that I feel.
Or is it in the empty places that faith fills in? Are we supposed to trust the emptying and the wounds?
Our bodies may be decaying or unsubstantial, but on the inside, when troubles assail the waters we are supposed to sail on, that we are supposed to walk on in faith, it is the condition of our hearts that the Lord is secretly working to His glory.
In the emptying, when we realize that we cannot trust in the way that things are, we learn the way that they are supposed to be. When faith fills the darkest places of us that have been emptied of ourselves, we taste the way that it is supposed to be.
We are more than these bodies. And so, our hope should be in something greater.
It sounds so easy. So, so easy. But when you sit in the wooden pews at church, and you see the hands of the saints around you raised in worship, but you don’t really know what you’re doing there anywhere?
That’s right where God wants you.
He wants you to know that you’ve been doing it wrong all this time.
And even as life ticks by, and we think that we are learning, that we are growing, that we are different than the person we were a year ago, we come to yet another bedrock of truth. Where we find out just how much we really never knew to begin with.
I’m not sure about any of this, really.
But the God in heaven is the one who scatters, and the one who draws near.
And He will surely not allow us to be sown without allowing for us to collected.
Just sometimes, that takes time.