I’ve been obsessed these past two days with getting this blog up and running. Everything published before this post was originally written and shared on Facebook. I’ve gathered those posts here for the sake of congruity and perhaps even for safer keeping. I’m grateful for the space and connection Facebook originally provided, but at some point, it became difficult and inappropriate to share my heart on such a haphazard platform. I had entered a desert. The lowlands. It stretched out in front of and behind me, in seeming infinity. It was a place of dirt and dry earth. There were mountains, but they were in the distance and only served to contain me in that low spot. I needed to walk alone for awhile, in that deep valley of sadness. And, in doing so, my faith walk got deeper, too.
As I write this, it dawns on me that Jesus also spent 40 days and nights in the desert. This was about the same amount of time that I spent in my own dusty barrenness. I’m not saying that I am like Jesus, but it should not surprise me that there is something to be said for the sacredness in this time of desert walking and wordlessness.
It has been 4 1/2 months since Carl died. It seems like an agonizingly long time and yet, as the days and months and years will continue to pass between us, I know that someday I will look back on this day and realize that the distance between now and then was miniscule. But time stretches. It shrinks and expands and then doubles back on itself.
For over a week I have found myself, for the first time, suspended in a place of happiness, inspiration, hope, even giddiness. I have felt energized by some strange and unexplainable joy. It felt like God. It was God. It is God. It felt impossible to feel so much joy in the face of so much loss. I don’t fit the mold of what I imagine grieving “widows” of unexpected tragedy to look like. Yet I also know that is what Carl loved about me. That is, he loved my optimism and passion for life. And that is what I loved most about him. Of course, God knows that even the unspeakable loss of the man I loved with my whole heart could not stop this life force within me, even tho, at first, I so badly wanted it to. I am both devastated and satisfied in a way that I’ve never before experienced. I cry as I write this. I feel like a conundrum, an oxymoron, an absurd paradox. All last week I was on the verge of breaking out of my skin with a renewed sense of euphoria and hope. Today I simply feel like I’ve made it to the edge of the valley where I will sit and rest for a moment before continuing my walk into the foothills and, eventually, someday, maybe even the mountains.
I created this blog so that I might have a space that I can more openly write about my journey through grief. I’ve been a wanderer my whole life, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would travel through a landscape like this. All I know is that, like Jesus after his 40 days and nights in the desert, I am hungry. But it is a strange hunger. Not for food, but for more of God.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~Matthew 4:1-4
As I write this, I once again notice how Carl’s bible smells like him. Somehow, in drawing close to God, I feel closer to Carl, too. I draw close, not for Carl, but because of him. I draw close because this is what was meant for me all along.
“I am a bow on your hands, Lord.
Draw me, lest I rot.
Do not overdraw me, Lord. I shall break.
Overdraw me, Lord, and who cares if I break?” ~Nikos Kazantzakis
For those of you who have found me here and are reading these words, thank you for journeying with me. I pray that, even in breaking, grace might be found.
with love and honesty,
14 thoughts on “For breakfast: coffee steam and candles.”
Thank you Jessie… I’m so very glad you found your way here.
★¸.•´¯`★ ❤ ★¸.•´¯`★
Thank you, Marilyn. It feels good. Thank you for coming to visit this space! ❤
Hi Jessie, I’ve seen your writings pop in my FB feed as you’ve tagged various Bratliens (I’m Heath Vosberg’s wife) and have been inspired by what I saw even in your deep grief. Thank you for writing and sharing, this kind of transparency will allow for others to be open with their grief, faith and joy-something this world needs more of. I’m so glad you have found your twin in Carmita, she is a lovely human and I am thankful that I get to call her family both as a Bratien and as a sister in Christ. Peace to you.
Thank you so much for this comment, Jill. I feel so blessed in about a million ways. I am glad to “meet” you through the Bratliens. Blessings to you, dear Jill!
Meghan Genge recommended your blog and I’ll have to thank her for that. Your blog is beautiful and your words beautiful, filled with unvarnished truth, inspiration and a love for God. I am sorry for your loss
, but I am glad that you’ve been found. Blessings and grace, Lydia
Lydia, I’m glad to be meeting you via, Megg. Love that girl very much. Thank you so much for your wonderful words. Blessings and love to you.
I’m friends with KJ, who I believe is friends with you. I’m so sorry for your loss, so tragic. I don’t envy your journey but it sounds like you are going in the right direction. Blessings and hugs to you
Thank you, Mim. So glad you found me through KJ. She is a beautiful soul. Blessings and hugs to you as well. xo
“All last week I was on the verge of breaking out of my skin with a renewed sense of euphoria and hope.” Dear friend, please grant permission to yourself to allow joy back in and to smile when your face simply cannot contain itself for another minute. Some time after that, even silly might surprise you. Love from the 1% club.
Amy, may we always remember how blessed we are to be a part of that blessed 1%. This gratitude can’t help but let some of the joy sneak back in along with it. xo
Meghan Genge recommended your blog and I am so glad to hae connected to your words here. Honest and inspiring. I look forward to reading more as you share.
I’m so glad you ventured your way over to my blog, my little dog. 🙂 Oh, and it makes me happy to write that. xo
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Jessie, I am so happy you have stared this blog! Happy for all who get to read your wise a d beautiful words….and so happy for you that you are taking this step in your journey forward! Love to you!
Thank you, Jean! SO glad to have you along on this journey. xo