I start this blog in a unique position. I’m not stood on my head but rather am sat staring at a blank screen and a bare hand without a clue of what to say or how to say it. I start this blog with one simple aim, I need to write. But while I may need to write, while I may want to write, that doesn’t alter the fact that I’m struggling to find the words. There is that well known saying “pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray”, well to be honest I think the same can be said of writing. The words aren’t coming easy and I fear what I have to say will be a tangled mess of thoughts and cliches, but still I must write, I need to make sense of what I’m feeling by putting it into words.
So to try to get things started, here is a disjointed list of what I’m currently thinking and feeling: hurt, devastated, lost, stupid, disbelieving, gutted, wrong, bereft, tired, guilty, hopeless, empty. The words are there, stringing them into any kind of sentence or form is proving to be the difficult bit.
On Friday I lost my mum’s wedding ring. I’d worn this ring every day for five years, it had become so much a part of what my hand looked like. That little ring stood for so much; it’s constant presence reminded me that my mum still walks with me holding my hand, it soothed me when nervous or stressed (something that I’m only realising now that it is no longer there and I find myself stroking the bare ring finger of my right hand) and it stood as a part of my mum that I could tangibly carry with me and hopefully pass on to my children one day, sharing some of their family history with them. And now it’s gone and I find myself mourning; grieving my mum all over again, grieving the loss of the ring, grieving the things that it meant to me. I’m in a bit of a mess.
If I’m allowed to be honest (and I am, because this is my blog and I make the rules), my faith is more than a little shaken. The unfairness of it stings just a bit. The pointless crappiness leaves me reeling, in ways that I really, really can’t put into words just yet. There is no meaning to it, no lesson to be learnt; its just a horrible situation that hurts, a lot. But why then do I find myself compelled to write? Why do I find myself needing to make sense of a horrible accident? Why have I, much to my annoyance, found myself learning things during the last few days.
And the simple answer comes that; in spite of my anger that heaven remains silent amidst the prayers of so many kind, wonderful people, in spite of my desperate pleas to God seeming to go unanswered, in spite of the fact that, like a child I have stubbornly turned my back and actually given up hope (remember, my blog, my rules), God is still faithful.
God is still faithful (I had to write it again because right now it hurts to write it, it’s a matter over mind type thing). It’s a dark kind of faith birthed from disappointment and hopelessness, but a faith that leads you to an assurance that in spite of what the world and every current situation tells you, God remains faithful. He is faithful because it’s the only thing that makes sense and the alternative doesn’t even bear thinking about. Begrudging, painful lessons are learnt in this place of faith; lessons you never, ever wanted to have to learn, but he is still faithful. We are disciplined and our characters refined in this place, it’s uncomfortable and painful, but God remains faithful.
I didn’t want to have to learn lessons from this situation, I desperately wanted to find the ring somewhere stupid and simply reflect that perhaps it would be safer worn round my neck; but instead I am being taught and disciplined in ways I’d rather not have to endure.
I’ve learnt, really learnt, what community looks like when it rallies round someone in crisis. Girls gave up their lunch break to sweep the school field, by the end of school on Friday I had 4 (I didn’t realise they were so popular) offers of metal detectors and half the school is walking around with their heads down, either looking for the ring or praying to all manner of saints (we’re very catholic). Its a beautiful thing to see community being modelled so authentically, but I am learning that I am not as comfortable with community as I perhaps thought. I have felt so loved and supported but at points I have also felt unbelievably guilty that so many people are worrying about a problem of mine and suffocated by people’s concern. I am being taught that when part of the body is in pain, the whole body hurts. I am not a little finger out on my own, as much as I’d maybe sometimes like to be.
And I’m learning, all over again, what it means to have the discipline to worship in the wilderness, to continue to pray and seek when heaven remains silent and to praise even when the tears are falling. God is still faithful, even in my doubt and unbelief. I am being disciplined, as a child, to trust in God’s faithfulness even when my childish understanding is telling me otherwise.
I finish in a similar position to that which I started in, the screen isn’t blank anymore but my hand is still bare, and while I may ache for that not to be the case… God is still faithful.