Saturday, July 30, 2011

We Have to Hope

I wish I was more at peace with the things that make no sense. Why should a 31 year old mother develop serious cancer and be in the ICU days after her diagnosis with a one year old baby at home? I can't make sense of these things, and I don't know where the line is between caring about her and her family and not allowing my fear and sadness to take over my life.

It's always easier to accept these things when they happen to someone else, but when this kind of situation develops within your own family, and overlaps the edges of your heart and life, it feels deeply personal. I am angry that this is happening to someone I love. I remember when I had a miscarriage, and I felt shocked and angry that my easy life would be disrupted by something so awful, and then one day this thought descended, "Why not me?"

Tragedy happens, all of the time, but to people other than ourselves or those we love. Moving through life and trying to keep death and disease at bay is like a horse wearing blinders through a parade. The people are there, all around, and the horse can sense them, but not see them. Most of my life I tried to function in this way, with blinders on and my fingers in my ears singing "lalala, I can't hear you!" at the top of my voice to bolster my own courage.

The blinders seem to be falling off now, and I must work through the reality that I see and experience. It's hard. I don't want to face the possibility that this person I love could die, far earlier than she should, and I am struggling to find any purpose at all in this brutal disease ravaging her body and trampling on all of our spirits.

In my spiritual life, I've been moving toward accepting that there are more answers than questions. I don't need it to be black and white any longer, and I understand that shades of gray is where we live in this world in terms of our knowledge on any given subject. Perhaps this is the same. Death and disease is part of the broken world we live in. Despair anchors our joy. I wish it wasn't this way, but I am not the one in charge (thank God for that) and surrender offers freedom, if we can manage to do it with authenticity and honesty.

All of life is a process. We get the mountaintops and the valleys, the sun and the rain, the misery and the happiness. I only know how to keep going, and to not give up, even when I want to sit down and cry with my head in my hands. We have to hope that God is there, and faithful in a way that we can't understand when our hearts feel like stone in our chests. Even when it doesn't make sense, there must be something to hold on to, and believe in.

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