Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where do I start? No telling. It's like a windmill with serrated edges that scoops little bits and pieces of me away, disarranges me into this cycle of nothingness. I used to pursue life with this determination to fulfill my purpose. Where did I lose it? Every morning, I would chase the sky, from the roof and from the ground. Waking up to darkness and climbing that growing oak tree to reach the brown shingles of the castle. Dad's house is the castle. So I would sit and wait for first rays of light to show through past the one morning star (that I never could find). Every morning, spend an hour on the rooftop watching the sunrise, dreaming into the new-every-day colors. Not one is ever the same, just like not one day is ever the same. Dewy grass, dream clouds, could almost float away with them in imagination.

All these thoughts were once again awakened by Mom.

"I like to enjoy the mornings."

I used to enjoy the mornings.

"Why did you stop?"

I guess when life got hard. But I didn't say that out loud.

"Do you know why I try to get you to come out here in the mornings with me?" she continues, pulling another weed. We just had a rain shower yesterday, a beautiful, blessed shower of blessing. The last six months have been like a famine in this South. So she continues, "Because pretty soon, winter will be here and you won't have the mornings to enjoy."

What has happened to me? This is ME we're talking about here! I used to chase dreams and get back up after a fall, rebel against the threat of life, be strong against the storms. Unstoppable. Unsinkable. So called was the Titanic. That's when life got hard. That's when the Multiple Sclerosis really hit Dad hard. It was like a little weed growing in the green and grassy field of my soul. Unnoticeable at first. I gave and gave, asking God to help me not to take. Ever. Tried to be strong for the family. It was a long thread, weaved for who knows how long, to this time right now. A weaving that was never meant to be. I got bitter while trying to love so much and be so strong. Lost my purpose of living trying to survive and sustain life in loved ones. Trying to find answers when someone needed help. Maybe sometimes we're not supposed to know answers, just to sit helpless and wondering at the goodness of God. Maybe sometimes we need to all cry and despair together. Maybe the source of purpose is in the house of mourning, where wisdom is found (Ecclesiastes 7:4). When we see and truly realize that life is precious, so precious, and will come to an end. Maybe that's when purpose can become clear, when we see how short a living can be, and what matters most. When we cry and feel pain cut so deep and see no way out. But I didn't cry. Maybe a couple times. Not enough. Didn't dwell on the wonderment of pain, the gift of the trial. That's where my own strength got in the way, and I didn't let God break my heart like the rest of my family. I wanted to still stand and not crumble under the weighty shifting of everything. Bitterness took root at the beginning, when I decided to stay strong and not let God be strong for me. It is good to cry, it is good to be helpless, for only then does His strength begin to work, when ours is gone. When we lose all sense and all fight that's left in us, and are forced to choose between Him and our old life. When we are caught with a decision, Hope or Despair? Faith or Fear? When there's nothing left to do, He is there. We can find ourselves in Him.

I have tried to fight for so long and keep my head above water. Dad is still here, he is alive, he is walking and talking. He's here. Sometimes I can't listen to him talk because it cuts so deep. His faith is great and strong, though his body is not anymore. Beautiful Trial. He tells us of God's love, and I know it's true. And then I get angry at the fact that this wonderful man, who never did anything to anybody, has to hurt like this. To see so great of faith while scoffers and unbelievers question whether we'll make it or not, whether our family will survive. God is good, but this test is so long. Life is so harsh sometimes. Trying to be strong for Mom and little sister, brothers who don't show any emotion, probably hiding it all inside like me. Trying to be the strong tower and rock of defense for us all. Determined that nothing will break through. Isn't that what God does? Am I trying to take God's place? Taking things into my own hands, trying to put this puzzle together. But all my life, trying to live fully and vibrantly and show the world what a Christians is. Asking God for help and plunging into His grace each day. Every day, new. But now I wonder what my purpose is, and surely there's something I'm missing. These trials, seeing my Dad in pain every day, seeing my Mom cry and wonder what God was doing, trying to numb it all for my brothers and sister when Mom and Dad would cry and pray together in their room... And then after all this fighting, feeling as though I have gained nothing. From trying so hard, giving every little ounce of myself toward my family through this time, trying to hold onto each other and pray for each other. And then when a blessing bigger than what I could expect hits me in the face, there are no tears of joy. Gratitude, yes. But not what it could be. I'm still thankful, but beneath illness of spirit. All I wanted from the beginning was joy and fulfillment, but maybe God saw... the valley was firstly needful. And I didn't let the valley refine me much. I didn't let the natural human doubts surface, just pushed them away. Denied them. Didn't let God take my faith and rub it raw. There was purpose in the valley, bu I didn't follow the path to get to it. Went through it, experienced the trial, the test. But now I see, finally. The weed that was planted first was temptation, and then that weed spread all over until my heart was a bitter mess, calloused over with runners, all connected to the one weed that, when conceived, brought forth sin.

"Don't lose your joy."

I hear it time and again.

But I think... maybe I already lost it. So deep down inside, barely perceptible, was the bitter root. Sometimes is surfaces out of the depths of my being and I am reminded that it's there. Living two lives is never balanced or healthy. Never giving. Never strong. And now I have to trust Him who has brought us here to turn my heart and help me every day for the rest of my life, because I cannot live by myself. That is where joy is found, in the poor spirit that crouches down and begs for God's help. Our strength is fleshy and sensual. His strength prevails, all-pure and powerful. Bitterness has met it's bitter end at the foot of the cross, where pride has to be nailed and faith has to be.

Enjoy the mornings. Go to bed on time, stop staying up and trying to gather strength from prayers that are seasoned with fear and bitterness. God is good. His plans and thoughts are peace. So when chaos comes, don't take shelter in the place you built for yourself. You may wake up alone, the only survivor, while others found life in their own death. While their strength has died and Christ lives even more through them, your strength still lives and continues its bitter struggle to forgive and forget. Keep looking for the morning star. Keep watching the sunrise. Let the pain come, but don't stop living. Don't hold still to shield your face from the storm. Walk though it and live through it, the wind, the rain, the fire. Be refined. Open your heart to be rearranged by the Master who first formed it in the womb, before you breathed air. Don't stop loving, be faithful. Don't forget where purpose can sometimes be found.

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