Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Amateur hour...

I called home once while I was in Israel...turned out to be a horrible idea. Mom answered the phone and I talked to her for a solid two or three minutes, telling her what we'd been doing and how the weather was and whatnot. Finally she stopped me mid-sentence and said, "Who is this?" Ouch. "It's Kels, Mom." Slight pause. "Oh! Here, why don't you talk to Brian?" I wasn't going to cry...it was an almost instantaneous reflex, but I stifled it. Then a friend of mine came in the room and I told him what had just happened and my eyes filled up and filled up but I held it back. Then he left and I was alone, and I tried so hard to blink the tears away but daggone it, in spite of me, one got out. Over the course of the next two nights, I penned the following poem:

The hot tear stung her cheek
As it trickled slowly down
A single leak from the cistern of pain
In which she hopes not to drown
Blink really hard and wipe it away
Maybe that will soften the edge
Numbness preferred while pain is deferred
Inching closer to the end of the ledge
How can it be that she feels so alone?
Where did her Father go?
Did He close His eyes as the madness crept in?
Surely it couldn't be so!
But to see and know and stand idly by
Seems so unlike the God she knows
The proverbial fork in the road that she walks
Pits faith against a doubt that grows
Once-blind trust gives way to questions
Too deep for her voice to find
Belief is as elusive as her mama's smile
And as fragile as her mama's mind
But yet, the Lord, He whispers to her
"You have such a limited view
I know it hurts more than anything should
But what you face, I've been through too
I never promised life would be easy
Or that you'd never lose something dear
One thing, however, I did promise you
Is that I'll always be near"
She knew it was true and straight from the Lord
Still that didn't give precious time back
But the journey's not done and one day the questions
Will have the answers they currently lack
In the meantime she may cry a little
Because she needs to every now and then
But she knows her God sees and He hears and He cares
And He won't mind showing her again
Trust through confusion, hope through doubt
He'll prove faithful every step of the way
The dark glass she sees through will eventually turn clear
And she'll understand all someday.

I haven't really written much in this blog about the effects of my mom's illness on my spiritual life...I guess for a long time I felt like something was wrong with me because I was not the happiest with God as a result of everything that has happened. I still feel that way sometimes. I know in my mind that it's okay to question and be raw and honest...but when honesty is so ugly and abrasive it doesn't feel okay no matter how much I know it is cognitively. Besides, how could I, the role model yonng Christian woman, allow the people around me to witness my faith crisis? What kind of example would I be setting by allowing these tremors to expose my shaking foundations in plain view of those who think so highly of me? How can I encourage Brian to trust God when I don't do it myself?

I have lived with these questions for going on two years. I have spent periods of time refusing to read anything in the Bible but Lamentations (even Job has a happy ending, what good is that?), I have yelled at God, I have ignored Him, I have immersed myself in theodicy, I have enlisted prayer from every Bible study, professor, email prayer chain, and friend-of-a-friend I can find. The only thing I really knew was that I was going to dig in my heels and wait for the day when God would show up again, because it sure seemed like He decided to spend His time elsewhere for a while.

Here's the crazy part. He did. He showed up in the strangest way. When I wrote that poem, I didn't believe the parts at the end about Him being faithful every step of the way and all that. Sure, I wrote it down, but it was still kind of empty. The morning after I finished it was when I shared my testimony with the tour group. I read the poem to them, and saying it out loud made it a little more real, although still not comfortably so. But the next morning, something glorious happened. I woke up, and I felt joyful. I don't think I can remember the last time I woke up feeling more content, peaceful, or just plain happy as I did that day. I cannot explain to you (or myself) quite what happened, other than to say that God flipped a switch and with it reassured me that he hasn't forgotten about me or my family, He loves us, and I can trust Him. And I'm not just saying that...I really mean it. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

I welcome your comments and thank you for stopping by.

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