Two. What are two years worth? Can days be discarded, undesirable and unwanted ones?
In a telling shortness, the two years behind me are worth all that’s ahead. I’ve cursed plenty of those days playing the victim drunk stumbling on circumstance violating what I measured fair in my life. Death never seems fair or fitting in its happening and the lonelier days following.
Tomorrow marks 2 years completed since my wife unexpectedly died. On a Wednesday like countless other ordinary Wednesdays before it, she was rushed from home to hospital. And I think it was then, not on the following Monday when she breathed her last, that our paths began to pull apart. I say this because for five days while she lay in an ICU bed, machines pushed air into her and fluids through her. She was gone. All that she was was no more.
Time stopped even as I watched it continue all around me and my life, the one lovingly built with her, ended. A new one started where I was a minor character in a major lead role, often overwhelmed with wordless emotion swirling in the context of grief resting heavy and constant.
I hated the new life that I had no choosing in. I resented God and if I’m honest in confession, parts of me still do. Those are the real hurt parts of me pierced by inexplicable, but not out of the question circumstance of a loved one dying.
Killing those hurting and accusing parts of me by allowing time, love and hope to heal is a daily exercise in trusting God and his goodness both universally for all people, but more intimately, for me.
We all die someday, I suppose.
We certainly do die, everyone of us. Saying, ‘I suppose,’ comes from one of those hurt parts of me that finds a slighting satisfaction in reminding God that I don’t agree nor expected such tragedy to find me then. But death and tragedy in its wake did find us. That’s right where our new life started, the one that we are two years into now.
Like morning fogged with sky fallen as low as our feet, Ahead ambiguously hangs on the fading tail of days bled through, lost in and even the smallest celebratory moments in clouds knifed through by sun. The promise of life in the closing distance warming more with each step away from life tearing apart glows on the horizon. We are not yet there at the glowing destination where all seems as though it rests only calm and giving. Maybe we never will be fully there. And maybe not being there is a good thing; a sort of guiding beauty always prompting us onward to a land and place of promise and peace.
We’re drifting, sliding sideways some days, but mostly moving forward in tossing waves frothing and foaming of grief and grace ...a heart-healing, God-stirred elixir.
Days old and aged in effort given and attempts overcome are also effective little liars. Creepers finding cracks to grow in; the unwanted searching for higher position than truth just standing stoic. Those days must be let go of as our hands grasp and hold to a new day. Faith. Grief. Healing.
Rocks hold well in the sea stirring and are a sure welcomed sight for one drowning, but waves don’t relent in crashing. Unconcerned of their breaking, they keep coming and breaking, again and again. Life and waves can feel much of the same in this way.
Rock holds and waves break.
So what of the two years behind?
I’m braver. I’m bolder. I’m stronger.
I’m more lost. I’m lonelier. I’m smaller.
I’m more convinced of good. I’m wrapped in dawning grace. I’m rescued.
I’m a better father. I’m a contradicting son. I’m an honest man lying in moments precarious.
...a loser won.
And what of them, the girls, my daughters? Well, they’re still watching, always waiting and regularly wondering and dreaming of tomorrow. They simply are the best thing for me, and I would surely be someone different without them. My daughters hurt and are still found in tears. In moments where moms fit appropriately, they have no one of exact measurement. That is the deepest bruise. Their little hearts have journeyed further and lived more than mine at that age. And smiles defy all wrong in their day with an honesty inspiring each of my steps.
These two years have beat the hell out of me, honestly. But I’m here everyday gazing upon a glowing distance still blurry in my eyes.
You are where you are, precisely. Circumstance, both good and not, will always loom and exist. Your choosing just as mine is simple: onward and through; no matter the depth nor height.
And now three.