What do you do with holes in your heart? the kind that create a huge void. the ones that numb you and drain any traces of life and joy from you. the missing part of you that is now unstable and threatens to come crashing down in the torrent of grief? Do you know that feeling? I honestly hope you do not.
Two weeks ago Dad died and I was standing on a beach at low tide looking at rocks that were slowly being smoothed away, their tiny bases impossibly holding up the weight of the burden above. I was grateful for the beauty and the mystery of these formations. Only now do I see they are a metaphor for me. Over these past few months, I have been balancing much sorrow, praying for a number of unimaginable scenarios, hoping for a miracle. I trust God hears my prayers. I know God is with me. I do not know how in highest heaven, the Creator figures out how to answer one plea and seemingly ignores the others. My cancer prayer list is long. My list of other petitions is too. I am not sure why I offer them up twice a day but somehow I have to believe that it helps, even if it may not appear to on this side of the veil.
I think for my father the one way God answered prayer was that Dad in the end was unafraid to die. For decades, I sensed a great fear in him. During a late night conversation in hospital with him about my funeral, I realized that whatever had bound him all those years was gone. He was free to leave this world at peace. This was one of the greatest gifts for me during this time. Maybe for the first time in my life, I am understanding this concept of redemptive suffering. I have never really liked this idea much but when I think of Dad’s health struggles over the years and especially these last weeks, I think a purification period occurred. That does not fill this hole but it at least allows me to keep that top-heavy pain in check.
As I listened to the news this morning, I thought that the world is going madder by the moment. Another wave erodes the foundation further. Bombings, fatal fires, shootings, carjackings, and one insanity after the other were reported. A tiny tidal wave crashes ashore. Broken families, shattered dreams, and gaping hearts lead to exhaustion. All those families now gathered at bedsides, awaiting an outcome, cannot even breathe. I turn to God and ask for help. How will we do it otherwise?
Today the heavens opened wide and rain poured down intensely at times as if God were heartbroken over the state of affairs. God even has days of sorrow. I am not one to cling to sorrow. The truth of the matter is while I am very saddened by a number of events in my life and in the world right now, I know that I will see Dad in the span of a twinkling of an eye, in God’s timing. I am content to know that he will keep his fatherly role of welcoming me Home and protecting me in my final days. This brings me great comfort.
The world will chip away at joy but it will take a long time to topple it and even then God can create something new with the broken pieces. Call me a fool, but I still stand under Christ’s standard and believe in hope.
What bores a hole in your heart?
How do you respond?
Heart-Mender, hold my brokenness in your hands and gently transform it. Our world seems so out of control some days. It is a challenge to stay focused on you when the waves crash around us, trying to topple us. We will never know on this side what you are doing and why. I choose to stay the course, trusting you. Amen.