The news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:15,16
Since the last entry, bereaved mothers sent notes telling me they understood my need to shut down the blog, but wished they could still read my words while they grieved. I felt pressure to be a source of comfort, but I needed to trust God to take care of my friends. It came down to the fact that God is God, and I am not. In my human weakness, God must be the director of their grief, without my help. I must believe that He can direct their grief well. It takes courage to believe that, especially in light of His sovereignty over Sam’s life and death. Can I trust Him? I have to. He is my only hope.
Jesus felt pressure to affect life and death through miracles, and yet He was brave enough to slip away into the wilderness. Often. He was brave. Often.
I want to be like Jesus in the ways that attract hungry people. I want to write words that strike the soul. I want to write for lots of readers. I’d be lying if I said I’d be happy to write for writing’s sake. I love to write, but what I love the most is when my writing becomes a conduit for the conviction and edification of the Holy Spirit. I must have readers. I must write for others. Why shut down the blog when it was drawing a crowd? Because I need to be like Jesus by slipping into the wilderness right now.
And because I need to be one of the crowd–the one that sought Jesus.
We went out to dinner tonight with a few old friends from camp. I picked up baby vibe from one gal–observed her drinking ginger tea and making an effort to keep her food down. I knew she was pregnant. I could feel it. I pulled her aside as we were walking to our separate cars after dinner and whispered in her ear, “I’ve got this feeling… are you pregnant?” She nodded with tears in her eyes and admitted to not knowing if she should tell us right now. I smiled. “Congratulations! Thank you for being sensitive, but I’m really glad I figured it out. I’m glad I know.”
As we sink back into a social life, every interaction we’ve had, somebody either apologizes for saying something insensitive or admits to holding back because they don’t want to say the wrong thing. It feels like my very presence has become the eggshells my friends now walk upon. I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t know that there is a solution. If my friends walk too gingerly around me, I feel excluded from everyday joys, like hearing about a new pregnancy. If they treat me like normal, I resent their insensitivity. Nobody can do anything right, really. It’s not their fault. It’s not my fault either. It’s just a dark valley I’m in. The best anyone can do is just acknowledge that the dark valley is real, that I’m in it for as long as I’m in it, and come and visit me with a lantern sometime.
I think there’s something very human about joining the crowd, retreating to the cocoon, grieving fully. It says, I cannot be depended upon like God can. I will not have a satisfactory reaction to your good news. I cannot bear the weight of my own grief. I desperately need the superhuman strength of Jesus Christ. I keep recalling this scene in the movie Cast Away where Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, is finally brought back to civilization after being marooned on an island for five years. He apologizes to his friend for not being there when his wife passed way. “I’m so sorry… I should have been there, and I wasn’t,” he said. Never mind that the reason he wasn’t there was because of his own tragedy–being marooned on an island. He wasn’t apologizing for neglecting his friend in his hour of need out of selfishness or some lack of character. He was apologizing for his humanity–his inability to control the situation. I’m so sorry I could not be what you needed when you needed it. I’m so sorry you hurt.
To those who are understandably overwhelmed by my story, who are unsure of how to respond, who are uncomfortable or hurt because of all of this, I’m so sorry that I am not enough, but I’m so glad there is enough, that He will be enough for me and everyone else.
There is this lie that I believed–the idea that God never gives us more than we can handle. And from this lie stemmed a great terror–that God is sorely mistaken about how much I can handle. Who knows what other disaster awaits me, if God thinks I can handle this? He allowed this… He took my son to heaven… not because He knew I could handle it. I am comforted to realize that He knows I cannot. Losing Sam is too much. My baby son is in a grave before I ever heard him cry, and it is all too much for me. He knows it is too much for me. I am so angry with Him most of the time, but sometimes when I’m given the grace to see, I see where He has been enough.
I have decided that this is what the inside of a cocoon sounds like.