Friday, December 19, 2008

See

I could feel the hurt creeping in, seeping like smoke under the door and in through the cracks in the walls of my heart. I stood at work today, the sounds and smells and shiny sights of the season all around me and couldn't feel anything but numb. "How long," I wondered, "will I feel this way? How long until it's over and done with?"

How many more holidays will feel hollow and naked-- like imitations or pretend celebrations-- without her? I had gotten so content, so free, got so carried away with how happy I had been feeling, that I failed to anticipate how tinny this season seems without my momma. Then the ache came back and blinded me.

Last week I drove far up the freeway and spent a day with my friend Christmas shopping. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant I haven't been to since the summer Mom got sick-- one of those chain buffets that serves watered-down Ranch and mediocre parmesan bread, and the backdrop of countless meals growing up-- and I never could have anticipated the flood of memories that were unleashed over my heart as soon as I saw the big stack of chipping plastic trays by the front door.

Every vinyl booth, every soccer mom with her kids, every aroma of steaming soup and bland blueberry muffins seemed to awaken a fire of images, faces, conversations, and glances that hadn't been kindled in a long time. As I sat and ate the salad I always got as a girl ("Your salads are always white!" she used to say), and remembered how it never ceased to be our family joke that Dad was trying to build the 8th world wonder on his salad plate, I felt so full. So satisfied and alive. The memories didn't drain me but instead seemed to charge every electron in my heart leaving me drunk with contentment, buzzing and ready for more.

The season came alive in my heart.

But as I stood in that store tonight I could feel the thick gray smoke of grief begin seeping in slowly wrapping itself around my chest, its spindly fingers assuming their iron grip on my ribcage. It was less sharp this time than other times, less violent and violating, more like breath on a cold window- softly pervasive. Nothing felt alive but the grief.

And this is where I am.

I ache for how things used to be, and the fullness I was always blessed to associate with this season. Everything seems empty. My once brimming and happy heart, broken then seemingly healed, feels tainted again by this grief I so despise and there doesn't appear to be anything I can do about it.

I know this is the point where I should bring the hope around and talk about how it's all right and "Somehow I'll just grin and bear it..." and "It's all going to be okay." But to be honest that's just BS that you hang onto until the real good stuff kicks in. And God is way too good to me to just wax over it with a, "So here's hoping!"

To talk about the goodness of the Lord with a stiff upper lip is like trying to describe falling in love without using your hands. He is so rich, so elegant, so extravagant in his love for me- so epic in his healing, so flooding in the richness of his love, so heavy, but at the same time freeing, in his affection. I am intoxicated by his ardor, his desire, his all-encompassing passion. He is the answer to every sigh, every ache, every hungry gasp of my heart. He satisfies, fills, indulges, and quenches every desire I've ever known, but somehow this great satisfaction still busts open the seams of my soul and leaves me longing, gasping for more.

Momma isn’t here, that’s true. And it hurts. That’s true too. But what’s more true is his love for me, and how ready and able he is to fill every gaping hole in my heart, every fault line that’s weak from former brokenness. He loves me and he lays it on thick.

I am never alone, and I never have to feel afraid. I am never without love, never without care and affection, never without special gifts picked out to make my heart sing.

He is my warmth, my grace, my peace, my light and my strength.
Ah!
He is my gift, my company, my benefactor and my blessing.
This is it... This is IT!
He is my wish, my hope, my story and my song.
Suddenly the room doesn't seem so smoky, the window clear not foggy... I can see again.

He is the answer to my heart's cry. And I am full and wanting more.

3 comments:

Martha Elaine Belden said...

this is beautiful.

Lanxi said...

This is so eloquent - and so true. I hope that the love of the Lord was a blessing to you on Christmas Day.

Suz Broughton said...

I was thinking of you on CHristmas and never got to sending you an email. I hope you felt something new and good on christmas.
This was beautifully written, as always.