Not Always Like We'd Like

Titled well, I think this Blog phrase fits my last two weeks.  Do you know how you experience something then look back and say, "now I understand what's going on inside me!"  It appears so infantile and displaced NOT to know what is happening in oneself.  I feel disconnected internally..."besides myself", like I am looking in the garden for myself:  "Jonathan (Adam), where art thou?"

When I finally do catch up with myself, what do I see?  I see a scared boy; an adult, yes, but a boy within.  Why?  Over five years ago in March my Father died very suddenly.  He'd had NO health problems, no bad doctors reports or visits (that was part of the problem, actually).  But in 17 minutes from the ambulance call to being with Jesus, he was gone from our lives.  I never saw him -- not the even his physical body after he died -- after hugging him two weeks before.

After getting through the funeral, cards and many family tears I returned to life in Durham and said to myself and Robin "this ain't so bad".  Then June hit:  my oldest son's birthday, and my youngest daughter's birthday and my earthly Father -- who loved his grandchildren literally more than life itself -- was not there to enjoy them.   Nor them, him.

So I, the man -- the father of these children -- is brought back to being a boy.  The adult facia stripped bare to reveal the boy within, the sad boy.  And so every June the reality of this tragic and sudden fatherly abandonment seems to hit me like a brick; July is a little better and then by August I feel almost normal again. 

However, it takes time for me to realize what is happening, and it is only IN the increase of symptoms (fear, anxiety, depression) that I eventually look back over a few weeks (like I did a few days ago) and say, "oh, now it makes sense".  It is now always how I'd want it.  I'd want more warning..."in a few weeks you are going to feel really crappy and you are going to struggle with sadness, anger and anxiety", or even "oh, I won't yell at my daughter because I realize it is not her behavior I'm mad at but how I'm feeling inside".  These are the kinds of thoughts I WISH I'd had a few weeks ago.  But I didn't:  not always like we'd like it.

How I WISH it could have been, and could BE different.  How difficult it is when people 15 years older than me sit and cherish many long moments with their father or grandfather, and I feel robbed of the time and of a life I understand now more than five years ago.

Yes, it is not always like we'd like.  But it is real.  And that reality however provocative and painful is where Jesus is.  If I couldn't be where He is (in the pain and in that reality) and if HE couldn't also be with ME where I am then this faith and God and church thing is a bunch of crap.

Two nights ago at 1:30am I broke through the pain and chaos of my own thoughts to praise and exalt Jesus.  It had been a rough few days of anxiety and pain and satan took a little crack in my armor and began to exploit it.  I could sense things getting worse...feelings more irrational, more intense and temptations more severe.  But it was after that time of worship and prayer and swinging the sword of Wordly truth in the air I felt incredible peace and I could sleep again.  It is a cycle I've seen now for five years and it just has to run its course ... grief is the beast which offers no warning, coming and going at will.

Last night and this morning the anxious and fearful thoughts were still lurking in the back of my head.  Times when my mind is at REST are the worst because the subconscious takes over; I wake up with this underground current running through my mind.  Thoughts pinned to my brain like little Post-It-Note fairies pinned them there overnight.  However compared to a few days ago, such thoughts are not now threatening to take over me, and I am not immobilized.  Just aware that this thorn is still there and God has not yet chosen to remove it.

For that reason I like Paul I can say "2 Cor 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of (INSERT YOUR OWN AREAS OF PRIDE HERE) these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Not always what we'd like.  I want the polite thorn, the predictable one, the publicly-acceptable one:  too much money, or a shopping addiction or whatever.  But God gave me the thorn He deems best and I need most. 

I am thankful that He is mine and that I am His; at times, 'tis the only thing holding everything together.