All I wanted was to find where my other darn ear plug went before I was settling in for bed last night. I dug through the drawer in my nightstand and found that little purple zip-up hoodie vest I loved to dress Brooklyn up in the most. I knew it was there. I had put it there just a year ago when it still smelled like her. I didn’t pull it out often, but sometimes when I just needed a little bit of her I would hold it close to my chest, and lay in bed and cry. I haven’t done that in a while. I was just looking for my ear plug.
This week, has been good. Really, really good. Surprisingly, I’m not measuring that by the amount of times that I have been sad or not sad but by the amount of times I have cooked dinner. Making dinner has been a challenge for me for over a year now. The idea of even deciding what to make was overwhelming, regardless of its’ ease. Going to the grocery store has also been a challenge at times, but the idea of pulling out the pots and pans, following a recipe, eating, cleaning up after – just felt like too much. When I look back on the past few months especially, I’m wondering what did we eat? But, this week I cooked 4 out of 4 nights. And, the strange thing about it all was I actually enjoyed it! I mean, don’t go sending me your weekly gourmet menus or anything, I am no Julia Child, nor do I ever aspire to be. Things like salad with some sort of grilled meat, an easy chicken chow mien, lettuce wrapped cheeseburgers, spaghetti bake….these are the sort of dinners that I call success. But, nevertheless, Adam and I sat down at the dining room table together, the last 4 nights, and talked about our day and shared a meal like normal, regular, ever day, stable, people. We have been beaming. We haven’t even sat down to watch a TV show together, all week long! We’ve been in the front yard with Maggie, reading books, chatting with the neighbors, attempting small tasks around the house. Pure wedded bliss. No, really. This is my version of happily Ever After – without Drew Barrymore and her fame based on the fact that she probably should have seen a speech therapist as a child on the reg.
So, on my ear plug hunt I was not exactly feeling a mini-melt down coming on. I finally resorted to grabbing a brand new pair from the bathroom and settled in to listen to music in bed before I fell asleep. That’s when I was hit with the memory and all the pain that came along. When the memories come, they’re so real. It’s like I’ve been put in a time machine, reliving it all over again. This started happening on a fairly consistent basis last week as it was leading up to the anniversary marking a year without her. I’d wake up and feel assaulted by the memories. I couldn’t ignore them. It felt like I was treading water in a choppy ocean, where every direction I turned resulted in a mouth of salty water from a wave lapping up in my face. I couldn’t ignore the pain. I told the Lord how I just can’t handle these memories. I told him I didn’t know what do with them? I told him I needed rest, I needed peace – now! And there on the bathroom floor littered with tissues, in my mind, I saw a pair of hands, and arms, and shoulders. I remember the shoulders the most clearly because they were sort of rounded, curved in towards me like they were bracing themselves for the weight. He told me that He can take them for me. That it’s Ok, he can handle it. It doesn’t make them disappear, it doesn’t make Brooklyn disappear, they’re still my memories but He can take them and I can have rest instead. Almost like a flip being switched on, I said Ok and I trusted Him with them and I laid down in my bed and I rested. Later that night I woke up and I was back in one of the memories I had given to Him just a couple of hours ago. But, this time was different. This time I didn’t feel the pain the way I had always felt it. This time, He was there. There wasn’t a moment, or an inch of the room we were in that He did not touch. He was holding it all in His hands – even then. He was giving me that memory back, but He was showing me a different side of the pain. He was showing me where He was in it.
When I curled into bed last night and thought about clutching the tiny polka-dotted purple vest to my chest – the way I did so many nights – desperate for her, I asked Him to show me where He was on those painful, despairing nights. He didn’t take the pain away, but He showed me that the pain I felt was evidence of a deep love that I was so incredibly blessed to have. Again, He showed me another face of the pain. But, He didn’t stop there. He showed me how this depth of love that Brooklyn has bored into my heart, is a new way, another way that I know Him. I think about that annoying song that us church kids, and adults, sang way too many times in the 90’s…I want to know you, I want to see Your face….blah, blah, yadda, yadda. I had absolutely no idea what that meant. But, it didn’t matter right? Because in a sense that was what we were all singing. We wanted to know Him, but we obviously had no idea what that meant. Because, we’re singing a freaking song about it. Seems strange to me now. If I knew what it really meant to know Him in those youth group days, I’d probably have dropped my guitar and run out the door. But for the present me, the present pain, the present longing there is nothing more satisfying, nothing that brings me more peace, than knowing Him – the love, the suffering and everything in between.
In the beginning
You were singing
In the end You’ll still be
Singing over me
In this moment
Your right beside me
You’re in the air that I breathe
You are an endless ocean,
A bottomless sea
All those angels
They are swimming
In this ocean and they still
Can find no shore
Day and night
Night and day
They keep seeing new sides
Of your face
You are an endless ocean,
A bottomless sea
6 thoughts on “A Different Side of Pain”
Thank you…I needed these words today in the midst of my missing and hurting.
To God be the glory,
Praying He would meet you in each one and that You would feel His nearness today. My heart is heavy for you and the rest of your family.
Corrie, your strength in sharing your grief journey is so inspiring to me. Though my loss is different than yours, your words mirror feelings I’ve felt grieving my brother. Thank you for every bit that you share.
It feels like medicine to have others speak out the very pain your heart feels, doesn’t it? Glad that you have found some of those little moments. They can be so healing.
Hi Corrie, First, I’m very glad for you that it was a good week for you…Second, thanks for sharing your “Jesus with you” experience with us. Sure, we may “know” theologically he is with us…but you know His presence with you in your awful pain on a different level, and thus you know Him on a deeper level. As always, thank you for letting us into your experience.
Absolutely beautiful,,,I felt a little closer to Jesus as I read your words,,God Bless you for sharing