The pendulum seems to swing full force in my life. Either I am huddled up in the fetal position under the covers, or the throttle is set at full bore and we all go along for the ride. I prefer full bore. I prefer having too many things to do for the Kingdom with a chaos of people surrounding me while doing it.
Lately that hasn't been the case. It's been quiet. And lonely. Grief seems to have a power of its own to close you in to a painful shell of yourself. After a while you get exhausted by trying to figure out what to do with the outside world of well meaning people who don't know what to do with you, either. There are the handful of brave ones who don't skirt the subject of your dead son, but most are skittish.
It's a strange place, wondering if you should venture in to deeper waters or stay on the shallows talking about the weather. Mostly it's the weather. Which brings the barrage of "why don't they say anything, why don't I say anything, fine I'll hole myself up in my house and never come out again."
Whoosh goes the pendulum.
Holed up in my house on purpose is where I've found myself lately. And that's okay. The kids are getting cabin fever already in October, but I've cocooned myself into a little quilting world and would be happy to not emerge until the snow melts next Spring. Lucky for them Aunt Traci came and whisked them away to the outside world for a day of swimming earlier in the week. I stayed home. And told myself I wouldn't cry. But it didn't work very well. If I could just let it all come out maybe I'd get on with life. But I'm so tired of crying and I can't seem to conjure up much joy lately.
"Sometimes it's just hard," were Traci's wise words. "There doesn't have to be an excuse. It's just hard." And lately it's just been hard.
Hard to go to friend's houses where other Aunts mistakenly use Trent's name. I don't mind. I mind the tiptoeing around us more. But then it's hard when somebody does talk about Trent. Hard to fathom that kind of love. Hard to believe that's what it is supposed to really be like; that other people carry this burden with me and all these whispers of the enemy aren't true. Hard to hear that people don't know how to help their children grieve. And even wonder at the concept that they should. Hard to hear that a young man was bawling into his pillow the night his friend died and that his dad sat on the couch next to him and watched a movie. Hard to hear someone be amazed at how strong you were only to know how truly weak you are.
Our weakness portrays our dependency for God. I keep trying to remind myself of that. Keep trying to force what is reality to overrule what I only thought was reality. It's been a losing game lately. Until God answered my never ending prayer to remind me again of the reality of eternity. Remind me to stay awake. Remind me that this is not a game we're all playing.
That reminder was through another child's death. Through another way that God used Trent's story for His glory. Another battle fought through folded hands and tears poured out over a girl and her family that we never knew. Prayers of a husband so tender that I am both convicted and ashamed at my own brutal heart. Tears wept because their day probably started out naively just like our day had over two years ago, and now they are in the midst of preparing for a funeral. Tears because we know what that feels like and know what is ahead of them. Know the ache that never leaves even when it feels like everyone else has.
Tears because we long for them to not walk the walk alone but to fight, brawl, battle and conquer over all to know the goodness of God in every detail of the rest of their lives until they, too, meet God face to face. Tears because these precious ones have gone before us and know what we only long to know. Tears because we know these are the easy days for them. Tears because we are so humbled by God saving our son by His Son and allowing us to share in their sorrow even if they never know it. God knows it. God hears. God cares.
So I dig deeper into the material cupboard. I look for more to do. I busy my restless hands as I wait for eternity to begin. Because it's either that or crawl back under the covers.