Monday, October 15, 2012

God's Goodness

I lost my two and half year old daughter to a failed adoption.  I am still recovering.  The pain of that was unlike anything I can describe.  Fourteen months later, my husband died.  My best friend.  The father of my children.  The only one who shared the exact pain from losing our girl.  My faithful companion of twelve years. A decade of marriage.  I knew in those awful days it took him to die that I would probably make it, but I would have given anything to have died right next to him.

You can't know what it's like.  You can't.  You can't.

For four years I have been living in crisis.  We were in over two years of legal and emotional hell as we faced losing our daughter.  We listened to a stranger tell us we had less than 28 days left with our daughter.  We sat down at a table as a family and explained to our children that one of them was leaving.  Matt and I grieved heavily for a year.  We fought a collective depression and despair.  Then two months later he left home for a run and did not come home.  Harper was fatherless.  I was a widow.  People try to imagine what that's like. You can't though. You can't know how badly your teeth chatter when you ache so deeply.  You really can't.  To live in it every second.  For there to be no escape from that agony.  To watch your child feel it.  You can't know.

I am not trying to commend myself here -- I am just communicating a truth: during that time I said to God every day, "Lord, you are good."  I told Harper.  I would tell you if you wanted to know how I felt about it.  I believe that God is unchanging.  He is not the god of my personal good fortune.  He is the one true God.  And He is GOOD.

During the last few months a friend has walked beside me.  He became a better friend, then a really good good friend, then the friend that meant the most to me.  It was a time in my life where every food tasted wrong and stale.  Life was flat and small or daunting and looming.  Everyone seemed two dimensional -- like they were made out of paper.  This man, Jake, felt like he was warm and whole and had a beating heart.  I didn't mean to.  I started to love him.  He didn't mean to.  He started to love me.  Then we realized separately that the thought of not having each other was very scary.  I don't want to think about life without him.  He won't think about life without me.  When I am with this man I feel joy pouring out of me.  Not the joy you can feel where you are sad but know hope and faith.  The joy you feel when you feel God's smile upon you and a fresh hope and a deeper faith.  And I tell God, "Lord, you are good."

I praise an almighty God who created redemption and who created restoration.  I am trembling with confidence and thankfulness.  I praise Him for redeeming my life and my story and restoring my future.   He is giving me comfort and joy instead of sorrow.  He is creating beauty out of ashes.

I am not done grieving.  I won't ever be.  This new thing isn't instead of the old.  It's along side of.  I'm taking it with me.  Our life with Matt is a treasure to me and to Harper.  It's part of us and it goes where we go.  Matt loved us most.  And we him.  If the tables were turned, and it was me who died and not Matt, and I got to come visit him right now, I would hug him and kiss his face; I would put my hands on his shoulders and look him in the eye and say with urgency, "run -- do not walk into this goodness that is in store for you."  So that's what Harper and I are doing.  God is good.  And Jake is the goodness He is giving us.  I am running hard to it.  We are getting married this fall.  I am weeping with gratitude.  I have learned that when you know joy this deeply your teeth chatter too.  And that is something I hope you do know and can know.

Once again, I will say, "LORD, YOU ARE GOOD."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Diary of a Quitter, Part II

I had two sweet dogs. It came to be that I was not in a position to have them anymore. It is really broke my heart for a minute. I felt terrible that I committed to these animals and now I gave them away. However, since Matt died, I feel like it is one more thing that I am incapable of handling at this time. So I quit my pups and with a lot of help, I found homes for these good dogs.


For the past few weeks I have been trying to put aside my guilt over eliminating the things in my life that are good things but are adding stress that I don't need. I am trying to realize my limitations. Without Matt and with my current life circumstances some things just have to change. Unfortunately, the dogs were such a thing. Other things I love that are going by the wayside are a book club I enjoyed, a wedding I really wanted to go to, a discussion group and about a simpler way of life I wanted to attend weekly, and other really pleasant things.

I am really attempting to free my life from the things that are weighing me down so that I can do right by Harper, and take care of myself. I'm making an effort to ask guilt and self criticism to take a few big steps back from me so I can rest easy in my choices. There is lots of talk in counseling of being kind to yourself. Of being gentle with yourself. It seems to me that it is pretty cyclical. The nicer I am to myself, the nicer I am to myself. Like sleep begetting sleep for babies.

So that's it. I'm quitting guilt and self inflicted pressure. I'm letting it go. And as of about five minutes ago, I just quit the last of the dogs. One thing though -- Harper thinks the dogs are spending a few days with friends. That's what I'm telling her when she gets around to noticing they are gone. So don't rat me out by asking her if she misses her dogs. Lying to your kid -- that's something I'm not quitting yet. That'll keep for another day.