all now mysterious, shall be bright at last
This week has been full of God reminding me that He is here, that He is good, that He loves me.
Death has knocked me to edge, sickness has squeezed my heart. I want to know why these things have to be a part of our lives. Both of these amidst the little pain-in-the-___ things that try to pull me down. So when I had to get gas this week, and the poor gas station attendant came out to see why my pump was not working, he found me in tears. It wasn’t the pump that made me cry, it was one thing on top of all these others. Getting gas was the grain that made the scale tip over.
The two kids who “should” have had the opportunity to receive a high school diploma next spring, fall in and out of love, get married, travel to South America, watch their babies grow up. The baby girl whose life is a miracle the doctors could not have predicted, but who will only have a few months to know her parents in this world. The woman who stands victorious with one battle behind her, only to find a greater one ahead.
Why is it that I get to live on, healthy as far as I know, and do these things? Why is my life longer than theirs? Why has God chosen to let some of us live on and take others home now, before they have had the change to live their dreams.
What’s ironic is that this notion that life should include graduation, marriage, a family, grandkids, etc. has been created by us. I mean, yes, marriage and family are parts of God’s plan, but that hardly means that if we don’t do these things or don’t experience them we haven’t lived. God’s scheme is larger. These people will live, have lived, every day that God planned for them. Yet as humans we feel sharply the things that they won’t ever do. And we wonder why it is that we get to do those things, and they don’t. We are no better than them, so why are we still here? Why are some people so very sick and some people can climb mountains without skipping a breath? Why do some families still have every single one of their children living on this earth, and some have lost so many?
I ask myself the question, why me? But instead of asking why I am sick or dying, I ask why I seem to be so well and alive. What I am doing with this life? Am I really living it? I don’t know. I don’t think so, not as deeply as I could, anyway.
All this to say, my soul is heavy laden, but this week God has reminded me, coming in softly and strong, that He loves me, and that He knows. That in the midst of suffering, He brings peace. In the midst of doubt, He brings hope. In the midst of tears, He brings joy.
The night before last, we burned a small pile of our never ending supply of blackberry bushes as the sun set. Zaz roasted marshmallows, acting as intermediary between the bag and my mouth, and I sat in the sun and let it soak into my skin, casting warmth into the dark corners of my soul. It was quiet and golden, and I was reminded that in the midst of all of this pain, God is still here and still good and still gives us light in the midst of all of this.
I don’t have the answers to these questions. They won’t be brought to light until I get to go home too, and then it won’t matter anymore, because they’ll be there and I’ll be there and He will be there.
But I’m not there yet. For now, I can only rest in His grace. I kneel here, broken and openhanded. I have to quit fighting against His peace and accept that it is right and best now, even though I can’t understand it. And I can pray, a whole helluva lot.
title from they hymn "be still my soul"