Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Silent Suffering

This post was written last week. I just wanted to clarify. 

Busy day of errands was all planned out for Samuel & I. One of our last stops was the fabric store. I was picking up something for the quilt I am making out of Joshua's old clothing. After searching though too many bolts that were too expensive, I settled on what I liked. I went over to the cutting table waited. And waited. And waited… with a little wild boy in a cart that was way too small chatting away, pushing himself back and forth from the counter. Both us us needing lunch very badly. I was standing irritated with the one employee who kept ringing people up at the register even though I was very clearly waiting to be helped. And darn it I was in line before them! I am sure the look on my face was not a happy one when I was finally seen by another woman who came in from the back. Samuel immediately said hello to her. She smiled while she replied, "hello," then looked at me sadly and said, " Enjoy him while he is young. Too soon he will be a teenager and a jerk." She faked a laugh as did I. I am sure I said something like, "I keep hearing that." She shook her head and explained how her two teens had successfully broken her heart with their sarcastic, distant behavior. Once she was finished cutting our fabric and before I could, Sam said, "Thank you! Goodbye!" in his loudest voice. She smiled and waved. We had not chatted long but the admissions she made had lifted the lonely weight on her shoulders. I could see it in how she greeted the next customer. We paid then left. Then I said thank you to my son. This little man who God used to bring hope and freedom to a random woman in the midst of her work day. Here I am struggling though my day, heartbroken and alone. Hurting while I pick out fabric for a quilt that it breaks my heart to make but clearly I was not the only brokenhearted woman in that store. Yet my sweet little man was is his chatty, wild self speaks through the silence of our suffering and allows us to be present for each other. I did not share what I was making with the woman but her sharing allowed me to no longer feel alone. This time of year is hard. I struggle internally without end, or at least it feels that way. I am sad but don't want to show it so I revert to irritation or anger. It seems less vulnerable then tears. Needing people but not knowing how to ask. Or even worse not wanting to need people. It really takes so much trust and faith to be vulnerable and tell another person you need them. And then the truth of the matter is there is really no way to "fix" it. How many of us suffer silently? We don't want to be vulnerable or don't want to be the "poor me" friend. We don't want to be the downer or make people uncomfortable. So we stew in our swirling sorrow and pain. Replaying and redefining. Justifying our sadness…as if it needed to be justified.I have spent the last few days trying to not feel guilty for missing Joshua. Trying to not feel shame for being where I am. Trying to not wish I was with my parents or alone or even taking guiltless comfort in a bottle. This year is hard. Just like last year was hard. I just don't understand why it feels worse. Someone told me after we first lost Joshua that missing him would be slowly be less; the days would be easier. And you know what…sometimes they are. But what they really meant was that you will just learn to suffer alone. Suffer quietly because the world does move on and people get too busy with their own things to grieve with you. So much of our brokenness won't be healed today or tomorrow. It won't be healed with a bottle or any other gratification. Our brokenness becomes a part of who we are and like any wound it flares up. Sometimes the flare ups are provoked sometimes natural but they will come. Today, this week, the upcoming weeks…my wound will slowly burn me from the inside. Gnawing at my heart, faith and trust. It is a much more present presence reminding me that I am alive, that I loved and was vulnerable. Thankfully, my pain is not hopeless. There is no pain that is hopeless because pain at its very core comes from vulnerability. And vulnerability is what makes us capable of the incredible…the unimaginable…the unbelievable. Vulnerability is the first step to anything and everything. Look around you, start with the "stuff", see that table? Imaging the creation of the first one. Someone had to cut down a tall, round tree then shape and fasten it into a table. Dang, I bet his friends thought he was crazy! He (or she) had to be vulnerable and give this idea a go. What else? Name something…I bet there are some way more crazy inventions around us that started with a crazy thought. What about all the ideas that failed. The inventors' vulnerability was tested many times before they meet success. Our world of things would not exist without vulnerability. Now think of the most important people in your life…they are important to you because they know your heart; your failures, struggles, weakness, success are all laid bare before them. Terrifying to see that someone has such power over you for good or bad; that is vulnerability.We can be nothing, do nothing without being vulnerable.  Yet there is honest hurt that can come when we are vulnerable. It can not be avoided. We can not have the incredible without the risk. The risk is what makes the success incredible. With each terrifying risk there is room for new hope. Hope being that which propels us on towards what we don't know or understand.  Hope, like an oasis in the desert. We are so tired of traveling, destroyed by the barrage of false mirages; but still taking one more step forward towards what our heart knows must exist. Hope is the paradise that keeps our wounded hearts still choosing to be vulnerability. The sweetest thing about hope is that it IS real. But that does not excuse you from the struggle of having trust and faith that there is good. That God is good. Hope requires something of you to remain alive. It requires you to try again. You to open up again. You to hurt again. You will be rewarded for your perseverance. Usually unexpectedly and in ways that fill your heart so full of abundant joy and freedom you won't be able to understand it. Oh the reward will be great. Eventually I will get to be with Joshua again. Eventually the pain will be done. But while I wait I ask that my eyes be opened to other who suffer silently. I want to have Samuel's innocent eyes so that I can see people. Really see them. Not see what I need from them, or who I think they are. I want to be the hope to someone giving vulnerability one more shot.I miss Joshua. I miss all that was and could have been but I am so grateful to have experienced exactly what I did because it reminded me that my wound is valuable. It brought me right here, to this place, at this time, for a reason. My wound brought me love. 

Not to say I am not going to cry and miss him with all of who I am. Because I will, just like every other day. I just pray God reminds me to not be so silent... to be the hope, to share this incredible love.