Sam passed away on Ash Wednesday, and we went through a reclusive time during Lent. We didn’t go out much, didn’t go to church, didn’t do much other than wake up, stay alive, and go to sleep at the end of the day. It was a necessary time of quiet and inactivity, but it was never the place to stay. Easter marked our first day back at church. It was timely and symbolic, but it was also painful because, while I know that Christ was resurrected, I still feel like I am in the grave.
I wish I could say returning to church has been an easy transition, that I feel God’s comfort every time I go to church on Sunday, but it doesn’t feel very good right now. It feels right, but it doesn’t feel good. There are so many babies and baby bumps. There are so many children who are not Sam. There is so much rejoicing over the season of spring, and my heart simply aches. However, I refuse to forsake the gathering. There is something to be had in gathering with my brothers and sisters every Sunday. I will have it.
We have also resumed a social life. Spending time with friends evokes a strange feeling. We both feel excluded, not by our friends, but by how our experience has changed us. We are not the same people. Things that are important to other people seem really stupid to us. It’s a normal feeling that comes with grief, to feel that the world’s comings and goings are trivial. It’s a good thing because it puts all the vanity of day to day life in perspective, but it can also leave us cynical and ungracious toward those around us.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been pushed to the other side of a two-way mirror. I can see the world bustling about on the other side of the glass, but I can’t touch them, and they can’t see me.
Steven said that sometimes it feels like people do things to hurt us on purpose–feels like they do. They do things like stand in front of us with their babies. Or walk around with their babies. Or stand next to someone else with a baby. Or talk about the baby penguins at the zoo. Or say words that begin with “b” which, as we all know, is the first letter in the word “baby”. Go ahead and laugh. It’s kind of ridiculous how just about everything hurts our feelings, and how personal it all feels, as though the world got up this morning and thought, “I wonder how creatively I can hurt Megan and Steven’s feelings.”
I think that’s why one cannot stay reclusive in their grief forever. Eventually, it has to not be about me. Eventually, I have to see this loss as one of many among the losses of the rest of the world. Eventually, it has to be about the Remedy.
I preface a great deal of what I say with the phrase “I feel” lately, and that is intentional. I need to say these thoughts aloud, to reorder them, but I also need to acknowledge that they are often not based on truth. I feel one way, but the truth still stands. I don’t like it. I don’t feel like liking it right now. But it’s still truth, and God is still God, even if I don’t feel happy or safe about how He has directed my path right now. Sometimes we think we need to choose between feeling and believing the truth, but I have found that I can do both. It actually works better that way, because then my open and honest feelings are aired alongside the truth. Eventually all these feelings will be realigned to rejoice over the truth. If I don’t stuff, I will be wholly realigned. I need wholeness. I need holiness.