I haven’t written anything down in a long time, that’s not to say I haven’t been thinking. In my mind I have sat here every morning scrawling out these notes to those of you who care enough to take a minute. The days simply have not allowed for time to be used in that way. I’ve been tired, burning both ends of the night with caring for my people. I’ve been distracted too, by this thought that the writing was somehow allowing me to stay stuck in my sadness, to continue to feel that all that has happened to me is still happening. When I began to realize that, I had to stop and redefine what I wanted from the writing. It is an outlet for me, to be sure. A safer space for me to question God, disclose my sins, practice my grammar… I noticed though, that the posts where I discussed misery or deep sadness or intense loss, these were the things readers commiserated with most.
I didn’t like that.
So I thought about why I wanted to write, why I started rising before the birds or the sun or even my children. Why had I begun? I knew it was because I felt that my words could help someone. My life experiences have been intense, and deeply felt, they have walked me down many a road, and I know in the deepest part of me that if I can express a feeling well enough, share a glimpse into my soul clearly enough that I can be the light that someone needs. While the way my writing was expressing the broken parts of me so well, it was failing to show all of the putting-back-together that I’ve worked so hard on over the years.
While I haven’t been writing I’ve been realizing that I can’t just discuss the hard that I’ve overcome or the ache that I’ve felt, without sharing the good that has come from choosing to walk the rocky path. While I am still lost in many ways, I know that I am also better because of the wandering. By not knowing what will be next I have known what is now, and I have known it intimately.
The loss is deep today. It’s hard not to focus on the way I felt during one of the darkest pages of my story. It’s hard to see any good that came from a day twelve years ago where hearts were shattered and belief systems crumbled and emptiness seeped in through every crack. It is hard, but possible. When someone you love dies you find it quite amazing that the world goes right on spinning. There is no break; bills must still be paid, jobs must be returned to, chores must still be done. You wonder; “How on earth is it possible to get out of bed!?”. But also; “How on earth is life continuing?” You feel as though time and space should have stopped when a heart stopped beating.
I remember looking around at people, going to the grocery store, the movies, the dentist. I wondered why do they even bother? It surely does not matter. It surely does not make any difference in all the world if one person gets up out of their bed in the morning. The reality of it all is harsh, to most of the world one life means so very little. Who stops? Who takes a day (a week, a month, more?) to mourn the loss of one person? Who carries on the morning after a funeral as if nothing has happened? As if their whole world has not crashed in around them? Why are we expected to do so?
It is an achingly lonely, soul-breaking feeling to know that the life mattered to you so intensely, but so little to so many others.
We all have that day. The day where it becomes apparent to us that we are not significant. Mine came just shy of twelve years ago, shortly after my baby brother died suddenly. It was made clear to me that my brokenness was too much. It was more than the world could handle and I should tidy myself up and hold it together much better than I was. This was the day that I woke up and saw that the earth had not tilted off it’s axis, it was still rotating just as it had before. Coincidentally this was also the day that I began to know that I was simply not made for this world.
When I sat with that feeling for awhile recently, I was reminded how exactly I felt on the day-the-world-did-not-end (it seems strange that I am still able to feel this way after twelve years). The hurt that I had in my soul, the anger that I carried around like a suitcase, the shattered pieces of my heart, could actually teach me something, if I would let them. I was awakened to know that while each life matters only to a select few, those few are made so much better by the life. We are not left in the darkness when death comes -praise God- but are allowed a tiny glimpse of it only. It is true what John 1:5 says; “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The light is God, of course. But God uses all manner of things to break us free from the dark grip of death that overcomes us in those days and months and years after the loss of someone we deeply love. Maybe He will even use me?
That is why I’m here. That is my significance. That is why I sit in the predawn hours scratching out these ramblings. I’d say it has taken me twelve years to understand what God was trying to speak into my heart after the death of my brother, but truthfully I think He’s been trying to tell me for far longer than that. It’s something like; “While you are small, and unimportant to so many, you matter to Me. To Me you are worth more than all of the sparrows…” Just as that one life, that one love seems to stop the world tuning when it ends. Not for everyone, but for you. My broken heart is not too much for Him. He has been here all of this time, holding me as I have sobbed. Not rushing me to accept that the world carries on, perhaps even slowing me down just a smidge while I try to recover my footing.
I’m hoping to write more often/again, I’m hoping to use my words and the healing of my heart a bit more, to let the pain leak out from it onto the page a bit less. While there will be times to let the ache sit out there for all to read, I am hoping to find a deeper healing, not just for myself, while I work through the longings of my soul. I hope that you might come back and read something else I put down here and that it might help prove to you that you have meaning and worth, that you are not too much.