Grief is such of a monster.
There is no better way to describe it on this cold, snowy morning. The holiday season was spent in a blissful numb. Several times I would attempt to take a mental temperature and try to gauge just what it was that I was feeling, expecting the pain to overtake rather than the ability to enjoy the events. Numb is okay, as Alexis reminded me. None of us minds Novocain while sitting in the dentist's chair after all. Another Christmas spent without your firstborn son and a little numb is just fine.
But like the fuzzy lip, it doesn't last long. It's reminiscent to the feeling after the first anniversary. Being all pepped up to do it well, face it all, go through the motions at least. Then it hits ... hard. Coupled with the fact that I've been on a marathon picture sorting, collage making frenzy doesn't make it easier. In grief, I have found, you do what you can do and you do what you think you have to do, even if it might seem irrational to everybody else. I have gotten it into my head that I have to have all of my pictures sorted and printed into book format before we hope to move in the Spring. I have gotten through two and a half years, nearly 1,000 collages. Which brings me to 2011. And we all know what happened in 2011.
As my mom said the other day, I'm living in three realms: the past, the present, and the future. When I first started the project I couldn't convince my brain again that Trent really wasn't here. As if he had just been hiding in the woods for the past three years, like in the pictures. I almost called him in for supper a couple of times.
Then there is the jolting present. Shutting off the computer and seeing the empty chair and bed. No Ken-doll locks, no giggle, no smacking kisses goodnight.
But then there is the future, the glorious future. To keep my eyes trained there often times becomes difficult. It's reality seems unreal, lately. As if God has asked too much. I force my heart to repeat the promises. Clinging to the hope in them. Battling for victory.
The victory to overcome this deceitful heart of mine. Victory over unbelief. Victory over thinking that it would be better to have Trent here. Victory to live victoriously.
I felt strong enough to venture into the February 2011 pictures today. I figured I better do it while I thought I could. I realized again the depth of my weakness. A son in a coffin three years later is harder than it was that day. I see the people again, the ones who were here with us. I see the bewilderment, and even the lost-ness, on so many of their faces.
Then I look at my face in the pictures. I can almost see the grace of God being poured out. I wonder where that it is now. I wonder why God lets it get so hard. Not blasphemously wondering, just wondering at His good plans that includes our total weakness. I wonder if at the foot of Jesus' cross it was the same. Mary, looking at her son... fully trusting God, but wondering... how is this the good plan? I envision Jesus at Gethsemane, asking if there wasn't another way. Accepting that this was the wisest way.
Somehow glory is only seen through the impossible. Our faith is only proven through the impossible. To make it to the end, longing for God alone, only happens through the impossible.
The pictures that were taken the days, even months and years, before the accident were so worldly. To see my heart three years later, and what it desires now, is enough of a reason to praise God that His ways are higher than mine. His love baffles me. Why me? Why grant this suffering to me? The other option would have been to let me go on living only for here and now, indulging even more into my kingdom rather than His. There is no appropriate description for how deep my longing runs for Christ, to see His face, to bow at His feet, to know His glory.
Would I trade that desire for a lifetime of a son, when it would mean trading an eternity of being satisfied in God? No.
The perspective helps. This blip of a life is kept in check. I try to remember to look up from the grief once in a while. For as debilitating as it is, it drives me nearer to God.