Survivorship is tricky. There is no one perfect path to get to it and unfortunately, some never get make the journey. And as a survivor, I am astutely aware of those who weren’t as lucky. I am reminded of how hard they prayed. Of the people they left behind. The tasks that were left and how unfair it seems to be that I am here and they are not.
I cannot say specifically what it would have been like had I not survived, but rest assured, I do ponder it. Almost on a daily basis. Would my kids have struggled? My husband remarried? Who would feed the cat? Or get out the Christmas decorations? Would my family go to church? I can only ponder.
Every now and then I come across a person who is so deeply in grief. They cannot believe in a God who lets these things happen. It is that person who crosses my mind frequently and to whom I am speaking to today. For you see, I know our journeys are not the same, but it does not escape me that my family could be yours. And I hope what I have to say is helpful to you.
There is a specific memory that comes to mind when I think of my near death. We were pulling into the neighborhood of our rental home in Boston. It was January, a nor’easter was headed our way. Everything was grey. The branches of the trees were stark and black. The houses lacked the familiarity of home and seemed cold and empty. The grass didn’t even hold a hue of brown. My surroundings were as empty and void of life as I could imagine. It was at that moment I wondered if I would ever see my Kentucky home again. The beauty of the light greens of spring. The redbuds. The dogwoods. Was this where I was going to die? And for that moment, while I was sad about it, I was also ok with it. For while I was heading into the most lonely part of my journey, I knew I wasn’t alone. That my story was more than tragic, because my story now included Him.
Fast forward two months, to the mornings after I nearly died. After 20 units of blood. Emergency surgery. After the nurse phoned my husband; he should come say good-bye. To my first memories after waking up. To what I imagine what hell must be like. I remember not knowing where I was. That I was feverish and in pain. I remember the clock on a grey wall and not being able to tell the time. Then the waves of recollection coming back of what I had been through and what was yet to come. These memories still haunt me. There was no light. No peace. No knowledge that it was going to be ok. There was just time and emptiness and pain. It was in those times that I couldn’t come to God. I wasn’t coherent enough and felt forsaken. Do you feel that way now? I’ve been there.
Alone. Lost. Empty. All but dead and wondering why.
Show me God where you are in my pain. Where can I find you? That was my prayer.
I didn’t find Him in those days. I let others tell me He was there. I remembered His Son who also felt alone. His words rang true in my heart, “why has Thou foresaken me?” Even He could not believe in a God that would leave. His father was right there, weeping alongside Him.
God didn’t let this happen. He is weeping right beside you. His promise to you? To not be alone. And that it will be ok. It will.