As I type this, Dermot Kennedy’s lyrics pour out of my laptop. The kitchen lights stream into the living room. I’m in yesterday’s t-shirt, sitting on the floor. But maybe I should be on my knees.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve written this post in my head but never wanted to put pen to paper or finger to key. Because maybe then it’d feel all too real. Maybe then I’d have to face all the emotions I’ve stuffed deep down for months.
I’m a pretty emotional person, but I doubt you’d even know it. I hate the thought of burdening others with my feelings so instead of letting it out, I keep it hidden. As a chronic people-pleaser, I avoid confrontation at all costs. The idea of sharing how I feel with others for fear of what they’d think or feeling like I’m a bother — (gasp!) the horror! You know when you go to the grocery store and the cashier asks you how you’re doing or how your day is going? We so often reply with “great, good, fine, I’m doing ok,” without really thinking about it and no matter how our day really went. Half the time (ok, all the time), I just keep it all in so I can hold it together. But every now and then when I find myself alone, all the emotions bubble up to the surface like a dam ready to break. I guess this is one of those moments. (And to be honest, this feels more like a diary entry than a blog post so fair warning that this post is about to be loooooooong. Ya girl can talk).
If I told you all that my family has been through the past few months, I don’t think you’d believe it. Because I still can’t.
My mom has been in and out of the hospital since May. (I got her permission to publish this, fyi). For nearly a week, those cold four walls were our home. I was there every waking hour, sleeping in a rigid chair at her bedside, watching her breathe. I’ve never felt so hopeless in my entire life. All I could do was sit, pray, wait, sit, pray, wait. Wait for test results, wait for healing, wait for her to be released home. I left the hospital one time in those 5 days to shower, and when I got home, I was all alone ... and I lost it. Sometimes I feel like I’m still in that hospital room, curled up on that green chair. I honestly wouldn’t be too far off since we’re still in that same cycle of sit, pray, wait. Not much has changed since May, except this time I’m not making my way to the hospital cafeteria every morning for some semblance of a breakfast. Down five stories, make a right, make another right, and if you’re there on Saturday, they happen to have breakfast burritos. Woopity-doo.
So often since then I’ve been so frustrated with God. There have been times in my life when I’ve just stopped praying for a few days, not intentionally, just in the sense of “does He even hear me? what’s the point? He knows what I’ll be praying for anyway.” The past few months, my prayers have been more lukewarm. “Hi, God. I pray for my mom, grandma, loved ones. Jane, Bob, Jack. You know. The usual. K bye.” Which, I know, isn’t much better. My prayers have felt repetitive to the point where I’ve felt like saying “welp, You know You’re going to do what You want anyway …” And I hate that. I’ll never understand how He lets others heal and others suffer. How he performs these beautiful miracles every day (nor is it our job to understand), but when it comes to my family, it’s just feels like He left us on read. Although sometimes it just feels like He’s blocked our number (don’t worry, I know the only one blocking us from Him is the enemy).
Before 2019, I would have told you the hardest years of my life were those lived in San Diego. (Which to be honest, many don’t know about. See: paragraph three titled: “I hold everything in”). But the past few years in general have been unimaginable.
My grandpa underwent open heart surgery with 5 clogged arteries, had multiple strokes and heart attacks and probably the most heartbreaking of all, his memory is declining each and every day. I don’t remember the moment it started happening, but what I can tell you is that the things he’s forgetting are pretty major. He’s been on the phone with my mom lately, and he always makes it a point to tell me he loves me. I cling to those words and play them back in my head for fear he won’t remember me someday.
To add to it all, my uncle has undergone all those same things recently — the strokes, the heart attacks, the open heart surgery. My aunt also passed this year. And while in San Diego a couple years ago, my grandpa, great grandpa and uncle passed in what seemed like months of each other.
I’m not writing this for pity in any way whatsoever. But maybe by me writing it, you’ll know you aren’t alone.
I was on Instagram the other day and I came across a family that was (and still is) going through an immense tragedy. They were frustrated (as to be expected), but what astounded me the most was the way they pointed it all back to God. Even in the midst of their despair, they clung to Hope. They left it all on the altar. And though God hasn’t completely answered their prayers, there have been glimpses of His presence. There have been little miracles on the way to miraculous healing.
God doesn’t see our feelings as a burden. He doesn’t leave you on read. He’s still typing.
Sure, sometimes my prayers are short and full of sighs and discontent with the current circumstances, but I’m finding more fulfillment in letting it all out. In breaking the dam of emotions and letting my feelings, desires, hopes and fears flood his inbox. Just because He doesn’t type as fast as we’d like, it doesn’t mean He isn’t answering us in the ways we cannot see. Maybe He’s working it for good and it’s just that our connection — our reception — isn’t strong enough because we’re letting doubt creep in and cloud His plan for us.
Three things that have been on my mind lately —
2 Corinthians 4. All of it. But especially:
”Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The rabbi’s words from this heartbreaking scene from Grey’s Anatomy.
“Faith wouldn’t be real faith if you only believe when things are good.”
I know Dermot Kennedy’s song “Lost,” isn’t religious, but some of these lyrics point me back to Jesus. The video itself reminds me that we’re not alone in this thing called life.
“But if only you could see yourself in my eyes
You'd see you shine, you shine
I know you'd never leave me behind
But I am lost this time”
“I was lost 'til I found you”
“I've learned in love and death, we don't decide”
We’ve seen Him work miracles before. It’s not our job to understand who gets healed, who gets saved. Our job is to ask, to seek and to live in accordance with His will. Our job is to let the floodgates down and believe in the unimaginable. To look for where the Light pours in.