"I'm cleaning. It's the thing I always turn to
when I try to restore order to my world...
Somehow I'll clean it all away."
-Vicky Westra, my dear friend
Most of the summer was quite care-free. There were moments of being at the lake, relishing God's handiwork, and watching my dear grandchildren frolic in the water. I could never, ever have imagined back then, where we would be now.
Summer is over, school has started for my grands and our world has been turned upside down.
In a heart-beat.
I have held on for dear life as I have seen chaos and fear take over and our sense of all is right with the world turn into "how could this ever happen. This is unthinkable, unbelievable, intolerable."
While I am usually not a great sleeper, in the hazy days of summer I amazed myself by sleeping in. Not sleeping in by most people's standards, but by mine. Usually I am up at 3:00 or 3:30. This summer, several times I "slept in" until almost 6:00.
I was as proud of this accomplishment as I was when I learned to tie my own shoes.
It helped so much to not be worrying and not have my sleep disrupted by...
"How could this happens?"
Yet in the past week, I am back up at 1:00 or 2:00 or 3:00, and I don't wake up rested. Rest has been replaced by a deep fear that goes from my heart to my toes. These days I am praying from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I shut them again.
It doesn't matter what the turmoil is or the heart-break is, or the deep sadness and deep rage is...because I can't really talk about all of it here.
What matters is that I need to live the words I write and remember that God is here. God has not left in these unthinkable moments. In fact, God knows about every feeling I am feeling and every feeling my family is feeling.
This reminds me of the time when Bert was diagnosed with cancer. Every emotion surfaced from fear to anger to confusion to..."Why him, God?" "Help, God."
"Please hold us close, God."
When the unthinkable happens, I turn to Him.
Yesterday, as I was cleaning the sink for the tenth time this week, I realized that I was not coping well with all that has happened. I was reminded of the blog post by my dear friend, Vicky Westra, when she started talking about cleaning as a way to try to restore order in her life.
Vicky has stage four breast cancer, and when she wrote that post she had gotten back her latest scans and test results. They weren't what she wanted or needed. They weren't what we had all been praying for.
Vicky is my role model for choosing JOY in the midst of heart ache. Yet she allows herself to really feel the hard and very hard. Then she surrenders, after a bit, and focuses on gratitude. She doesn't want to waste a precious moment of this life she has been given. Fear and rage can be life-stealers
However, she doesn't skate right over the awful or pretend it isn't there.
In Vicky's latest blog post, she is honest about cleaning her house, it's a coping mechanism, something to do so the fear doesn't grab hold and take over.
I'm like that, too.
My home is usually tidied up and pretty darn clean.
When it is in order, my mind works better. If it is in disarray, it feels like I am too.
Yet I have never focused on the sink until this week. Almost every chance I get, I try to shine it up.
I scrub and scrub, hoping to scrub away the sorrow.
I pray for shiny, clean lives, just as they were a few weeks ago.
I miss the summer calm and sense of well being.
I haven't quite figured out what to do with my rage, a deep anger that wells up when I think about what happened.
It's not surprising that intense anger can leave me unfocused and off balance.
Several days ago I was in an accident where I hit the left side of my face on the cement, pulled muscles in my back, and smashed my left knee, the one I have had knee surgery on. Both of my elbows and arms are scarred and ripped up. Slowly the bruises are reminders of the fall and my body is bruised from head-to-toe.
I suppose, if this was seen on a video, it might have been amusing. Girl gets hit. The sound turned off. America's Funniest Video moments.
Yet that fall, and my inability to catch myself, was symbolic of what has happened. My body is bruised, but so is my heart.
I can't fix this. Only God can.
Some hurts, like that fall, you just don't see coming.
As I start back to school this next week, I find that the air has been knocked out of me. How will I teach when my heart is so heavy?
What I know for sure, and it is a saving grace in all of the physical and emotional pain, is that God is here. He is here when things are great and He draws close when our hearts are broken.
He will be our strength as we walk this new road day-by-day.
He will dry our tears. He will hold us close. He will never leave us or forsake us. He whispers to me, "This is too much to bare. Give it over to Me."
And I will.
Please pray for me and my family. Your prayers mean the world to us.
"We are all just walking each other home." ...