My goodness, but I’ve struggled lately. I read a movie description to my husband this afternoon that said something to the effect of “after losing his only child, so-and-so lived a life of anger, bitterness and constant inebriation”. I turned to my hubby and asked him if I could get some alcohol from somewhere, as I think I might have the first two pretty well covered.
He didn’t think that was very funny.
I didn’t really mean it to be.
What a difficult road child-loss is to walk every. single. day; day after day after day after day.
It never changes back to the way it used to be. The way I desperately want it to be.
A few days ago, Dan and I were sitting on our park bench, watching the fish in our fish pond, when he turned to me and said, “This (meaning our son being killed in a car accident) has changed everything. Absolutely everything. There isn’t a single thing in our lives that it hasn’t touched and changed.”
This is the truest of true statements. Nothing is the same as it was before our middle son died.
Nothing is as fun.
Nothing is as colorful.
Nothing is ever as happy.
I see so many excruciatingly painful changes. But I struggle, without much success, to see anything positive come out of this. It’s just full of pain and sorrow.
A couple of things I’ve heard recently have made an impression on me, though. I love how the Lord speaks to us through anything, if we have ears to hear; even when we are angry, feeling like becoming bitter and just wanting to sit down with a bottle of something to numb the pain, He speaks to us.
The first came from the mouth of a child on the TV show America’s Got Talent. This darling little 15-year-old girl, originally from the Dominican Republic, who came onto the show to sing, said, in the interview before her performance, that her mom always told her that “we all have a purpose for being here; figure out what your’s is and go fulfill it”.
This simple, yet profound statement brought great conviction to my heart when I heard it come out of this beautiful child’s mouth. Maybe I’m beginning to be at a place where I can actually believe this again; I don’t know. I’ve tried to believe this many times in the past 3+ years, but haven’t been able to get past the feeling that I have outlived one of my children, and that feels like a wholly unacceptable fact. The conclusion I’ve come to then is that I must not have purpose, when what I thought were the purposes of my son’s life were cut so short.
But maybe God still has a purpose for my life. Maybe I’m still here for a reason; a reason other than to live my days out broken-hearted and unfulfilled.
The second thing I heard was in the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ. It was along the same lines as the above quote – or I should say, how I heard the above quote – though I don’t remember a particular line that made the impact. It was the over-all view of life Paul had after encountering Christ on the road to Damascus. The movie takes place while Paul is in prison; in a dungeon, to be exact. He is flogged regularly, and is awaiting an inhumane execution by the Emperor Nero. Paul’s friend and physician, Luke comes to visit him and convinces him to write another letter to the church to encourage them to keep believing in Christ and His Way, even though they face constant threats on their lives, including being burned at the stake on a public street.
What were Paul’s words to the beleaguered community of Christ followers? To love their tormentors. To not retaliate, even in the face of extreme persecution.
Do they go together?
That is all I can think of as the purpose of my life.
To love as Christ loves.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
Paul, the Apostle of Christ in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.