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,