As I was going through some things on my desk in our classroom recently, preparing for a new school year, I found something I had written several months ago. I had neglected to put a date on it, but it was on a scrap of paper folded within a church bulletin dated January 23, 2011.
It begins, "We will always miss God's will if we look from human eyes." Those words came from Pastor Kevin's sermon that morning and certainly bear repeating.
We will always miss God's will if we look from human eyes.
I'll include the rest just as it was written:
God often chooses unlikely people to help us through difficult situations. In the same way, He often does NOT use people we think He will.
Some of the people I expected to be there for support after Kristen's death were quite absent. Oh, they were at her funeral, and some of them called a time or two in the days that followed, but they were not a part of my healing. Or maybe they were, just not in the way I expected.
Days that were especially hard for me --Christmas, Kristen's birthday, Mother's Day, the 1st anniversary of her surgery and of her death-- I heard nothing. In addition to feeling so sad, so hurt, I also felt forgotten. Selfish? Maybe, but absolutely real.
Sadly, I allowed those hurt feelings to become a hard, dark knot in my already aching heart. Only in these last few weeks have I begun to loose that knot. I've had to do a lot of forgiving, time and time again. Only now, do I really feel like I've let those feelings go.
How timely that God would bring these words back to me now. After having gone through the hurt from family members months ago, I am now dealing with similar issues from friends. Not just any friends, but some that I considered among my closest of friends.
As I recently muddled my way through the 2nd anniversaries, I faced silence from some that I never expected. Days later, I let them know that I genuinely missed their friendship on such difficult days. In all fairness, the relationships have been a bit strained over the last several months, but I just wasn't willing to give up on them completely. One responded with a willingness to listen. The other, I'm not so sure about. There's a definite price to friendship with a grieving mother if you've not walked that road yourself. Not everyone is willing to invest.
I've no doubt been looking at the situation with human eyes. And in doing so, perhaps I've been missing what God is trying to show me. It's so hard NOT to see this with human eyes, to feel this in the flesh. There are just times when I'm more sensitive, more emotional. August is one of those times.
It's most certainly true that people I fully expected to "be there" just aren't. It's equally true, however, that people I didn't have an extremely close relationship with (or in some cases, much of a relationship at all) before Kristen died have been courageous enough to press into my life in a big way. Have they done big things? One in particular, yes, but most have not. The impact they have made in my life is big because they took a small amount of time on significant days to simply let me know they are thinking of me. Maybe it was a card, or a short e-mail, or a facebook wall post, even just a silent hug. I am so very grateful for those who have reached out to me (and continue to do so).
Grief is a very lonely journey. It's as unique as each individual and can often leave a person feeling very isolated and alone. And though loved ones are likely not setting out to hurt us, they do let us down, sometimes in ways that seem enormous.
I suppose it's fair to say that my focus has narrowed over the last number of weeks. In the midst of my humanness and painful anniversaries, I've neglected to keep my focus on the only One who will never, ever let me down. My heavenly Father. God has not failed me. He has not abandoned me nor forsaken me.
Perhaps the good He is bringing out of these most recent hurts is a reminder that He is all I need. It's a reminder that, in all honesty, still stings.
I do want to know God's will. I want to rejoice in seeing it accomplished. I don't want to miss it because I can't get past my human sight. I just feel very torn. It's almost like I have to choose between the right-here-in-front-of-my-face support of fallable people or the sometimes-it's-so-hard-to-feel-that-He's-there support of an almighty God. Wow. Just writing that out gives me a different perspective. It's a heart vs. head thing, I guess.
I remember writing very early on in my grief that I felt like there was a huge canyon between what I knew in my head and what I felt in my heart. That distance has narrowed at times, then widened again as I've journeyed through my grief. I guess it's just the way it is...the way it will be. The key to navigating this road in a productive way is keeping your eye on the Father. I'm so thankful that He picks me up when I stumble along the path, even if the reminders, like scraped elbows and knees, sting like crazy.