The meantime is a concept I have wrestled with since the moment my girls were born. In the days they were with us they were very sick and things were so touch and go I practically held my breath for 13 days straight. We were always waiting for something to happen. We waited for test results, scans, assessments from experts, and any sign of change, good or bad. We just stood next to their incubators WAITING.
I hated the waiting. Not because I am impatient but because I wanted to DO something. It made me crazy just standing around waiting. No one could tell me what to do in the meantime.
When my girls died it felt like my whole life turned into the meantime...and I am still (three years later) figuring out what to do in the meantime.
Things have not been easy lately, and by things I mean life. I feel very lost. My faith has taken some hits and I am struggling to make sense of them. I would have once thought myself too grounded to ever experience a crisis of faith, but I am telling you folks, I am having one. I feel attacked from all sides and I am not sure how much longer I can last.
I picked up one of John Eldredge's books (I found it just sitting in a pile of books in my dad's office) called Waking the Dead. The title jumped out at me because in many ways I feel dead inside and I'd like to be awoken to life again. I randomly opened it and began reading from somewhere in the middle and found the following passage. It is the perfect description of how I feel.
"...dazed and confused...we have no idea who we really are, why we're here, what's happened to us or why. Has God abandoned us? Did we not pray enough? Is this just something we accept as "part of life," suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts? After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not like and do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set. I know, I know...we've been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that he means us well. I mean, if that's true, then why didn't he ______? Fill in the blank. Heal your mom. Save your marriage. Get you married. Help out more. Either (a) we're blowing it, or (b) God is holding out on us. Or some combination of both, which is where most people land. Think about it. Isn't this where you land, with all the things that haven't gone the way you'd hoped and wanted? Isn't it some version of "I'm blowing it" in that it's your fault, you could have done better, you could have been braver or wiser or more beautiful or something? Or "God is holding out on me," in that you know he could come through, but he hasn't come through. And what are you to make of that? What is really going on here? Good grief--life is brutal. Day after day it hammers us, till we lose sight of what God intends toward us, and we haven't the foggiest idea why the things that are happening to us are happening to us. The days of our lives have have a way of casting a rather long shadow over our hearts when it comes to God's intentions toward us in particular."
This is SO me right now. A very long shadow has been cast over my heart as I wrestle with this strange meantime. What do I do with the time between now and...when it all finally makes sense to me. Will that time come in this life or only in the next? Will it ever come? Will I ever be able to trust God's intentions for me or am I too jaded to even want to? How do I ever awaken my heart again to an abundant life after my daughters' deaths? How can I ever feel fully alive when parts of my heart died when my girls died? I can't seem to get past these questions.
And it seem that with each day my frustration only increases. My sister bought these beautiful little vases for my girls to honor their memories this week and gave them to me with flowers inside. I set one of the vases on a little table she has in her living room and unfortunately (and totally by accident) it got broken. It was my fault for leaving it where it could be so easily bumped by young children but I still felt terrible. I looked at the little broken vase and saw my own heart--in pieces. My sister could tell I was upset and she graciously bought another one and gave it to me today. When I unwrapped it, IT WAS BROKEN! I can't explain how I felt. I thought seriously God, can I just have one thing that isn't in pieces?
I gave it back to my sister and told her to return it as they shouldn't break that easily. I offered to buy another one in case the store would not exchange it. I didn't want my sister to know how much it bothered me since it wasn't her fault at all. But inside I wanted to throw the little vase across the room and be done with it. It made me so angry.
I am not sure how to navigate this valley I am in. I hesitate to ask God because I feel resentful. It will make me very angry if God answers these prayers but not my prayers to save my babies. This prayer seems so unimportant in comparison to that one. I am not sure what to make of it.
I don't have much more to say. I feel like I am not keeping a very clear train of thought. I am going to finish that book though and see if it might not be able to shed some light on these very real struggles I am having.
Hopefully it will be a good way to fill a little bit of the meantime.