Sometimes, you settle into your sadness. You let all the colours and shades wash over your palette and try to make sense of it all. You give expression to the abstract heaviness that settles in your chest. Tears gather just below the surface while words well up inside. You find poetry in the full spectrum of your soul. Then, there are other times. Times when the grief is too much to handle and you instead, suppress it with dark chocolate, red wine and Netflix or whatever your vice may be.
I am bracing from impact. The impact of nothingness and yet, even without the actual disappointment my heart is in angst with the anticipation of it. I wonder if I will make it out in one piece or simply as a murkier, faded, and slightly hollow version of myself.
What is the meaning of life? Perhaps for some Christians this is an even harder quandary because we are supposed to know the answer. “To bring glory to God” but what happens when you feel as though God hates you?
We’re in this place again – a place we know all too well. Ben and I are no strangers to disappointment. Those who are closest to us know that most of our married life has been spent in seemingly endless valleys and while you would think that we would be used to it by now, the truth is: it never gets easier. Each time you feel forsaken, forgotten and that you just aren’t enough. You wonder what you’ve done to step out of God’s favour or at least, that’s the way I feel. And the bigger the hope or confidence that something good will happen, that the storm clouds will finally break…
the greater the disappointment when they don’t, and instead, the thunder rolls. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you are in a valley too. Maybe you’ve been hoping and praying and begging with God or the universe that your stars would change.
A little while ago, I alluded in this post that we would be moving. Since then, many have naturally asked “why” and “where to?” The “why” is easy – our landlord possibly wants to sell her house…or move back into it…She actually doesn’t know at this point, but either way, it would be easier if we were not here. The problem of “where to” presents a bit of a problem however. In the past, I would always have a solid back up plan so if what we dreamed of didn’t come true (which has always been the case) we would always have a plan: a roof over our head and some form of income. But this time we are jumping off the end of the cliff and hoping we do not end up in a pile of boulders – battered, bruised and bitter.
We have played over many different scenarios and to be honest none of them feel quite right and for the first time we are truly, madly, deeply trusting that God will open the right door and it will be so obvious that any idiot would be able to recognize that it is the way we should go.
The problem is however, that I have a dysfunctional relationship with God. Obedience is not out of love but out of resignation and I FEAR His will. I do not trust that blessing will come. Rather, I expect trials – dark and over-gown paths as opposed to open sunny meadows. But more than that, based on a decade of darkness, I have come to realize that there is nothing I can do to change God’s will. It doesn’t matter how hard I pray, or who I get to pray for me, or how hard I work, or how hard Ben works, or how pure our hearts are, or how obedient we are…our fate is not in our hands. Furthermore, God does not promise blessing this side of heaven. The Israelites wandered the dessert for 40 years and many of them died before even reaching the promise land.
We may struggle our entire lives. Ben may be kept from fulfilling his passion in an occupational capacity for his entire life. The one and single thing we feel called to outside of our children may never be a reality. We may struggle financially for our entire lives. We may be underemployed or unemployed until the day we die. No promises. That being said, money has so little to do with it because fulfilling a vocational calling in an employed (paying) setting is not something money can buy and should we have the opportunity, money would not be an issue. Trust me. Some of you know what I’m talking about. Others stopped reading a long time ago because we don’t like these types of stories. We like stories with resolution and redemption.
So why I am I sharing this?
Because, I know I’m not the only one who feels like they are in a valley and us valley-dwellers need to stick together. Because when all you hear are stories of redemption, where everyone lives happily ever after, you feel like something is wrong with you and you want to hide but that’s not true and we can’t hide because the world keeps turning, and we have to keep turning with it.
I also wanted to write before I knew the outcome. I want to remember these moments. I don’t know what will happen in three weeks when we put all of our stuff into storage and wait to hear from God. I don’t know if I will be weeping with joy or weeping with grief. I don’t know if I will finally be able to settle somewhere, build a home, invest in friendship and invest in myself (this is code for: finally get counseling and sort out some of my shit). We have lived in such a temporary state for so long, moving from place to place, that I have little show for the past five years. Despite efforts to dive right in, bloom where I’m planted, make friends and contribute to my community, I feel like if we left, only Ella would be missed because somehow she transcends all human inhibitions.
If we stay…
I don’t know what if we stay. It’s simply a layover until we start the job-hunting process again in the spring and pray and hope for blessing again, as always.