These last few months, as you know, have been hard, hard, hard. It’s a special kind of hell, watching your child fight for his life. Worrying about his survival. Helplessly witnessing his suffering.
It’s been more than my body and soul can bear some days.
I ache for peace. I long for something to give me strength during this trying time. But what?
As a lifelong Christian, I understand that the answer is supposed to be “Jesus,” or something along those lines.
But here’s the thing. And it’s embarrassing. Jesus has been largely absent from my life for several years. (And I write a blog about participating in Jesus’ radical Kingdom. Huh.)
I’ve retained the name of Christian, and in principle I’ve tried to live according to Christian teachings. Being kind to others, caring for the earth, talking about God, reading the occasional spiritual book.
But I’ve also spent the last few years feeling very cynical about the Church. I’ve lost interest in the Bible, in listening to spiritual music, in praying, in attending church services. Those things all felt kind of . . . lame. I was sick of pastors guilt-tripping us to do these things. I had no real internal drive to do them. So I let them go, living essentially as a functional atheist who admires Jesus from afar.
So in this time of extreme anxiety and grief I’ve been unable to find any real source of comfort. I mean, I take comfort in my husband’s presence, the love of my friends and family, etc. But I’ve longed for something a little more . . . transcendent. I want reassurance that this agony is something small and temporary within something else that is eminently good and eternal. Because it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it.
I’ve been finding myself . . . wanting to listen to music with spiritual lyrics. (I don’t think I’ve really done that since I got married nine years ago.) It feels weird, to be honest. Goofy, even. Me? Christian music? Aren’t I too hip for that now?
I’m starting to crave the wise words of spiritual men and women. I even want to read the Bible, the most boring and confusing of books, convinced it must have some words of comfort in there somewhere. Doesn’t Jesus talk about a peace that passes understanding and stuff like that? Eternal life? I could desperately use some eternal life right now.
I’m finding myself in an awkward place these days. I really, really want Jesus. For realz. I want the Son of God. I want Eternal Life. I need the great I Am, the one who promises joy to those who mourn, strength for the weak. The one who loves the saddest, most pathetic creatures best of all.
For the first time in my life I am so weak. So stupid. I have so much grief. For once in my life, I actually NEED the things that Jesus promises.
I know that Jesus’ favourite people are the most pitiful ones, the most wretched ones. For once, I’m in that camp. That’s me.
I’m desperate. I acknowledge that I have been so full of pride. I have been so ignorant. I need help. I can’t do this on my own. (And all those other cliches from Christian songs I’ve never connected to.)
Turns out, I need Jesus. Not only that, I want him.
All this time as a Christian and I’ve never been here before.
I’ve never been desperate for Jesus before. Why would I have been? I was perfectly happy and healthy and capable of taking care of myself. I’ve never really connected to hymns and psalms for that reason.
It took suffering for me to realize how badly I need Him. So I guess some good things always come from bad ones.
(*Note: I wrote the draft of this post several weeks ago when things were really bad. Things have been much, much better in the last few weeks. We are so full of hope for Felix’s future. Just wanted you to know that.*)
Image courtesy of frankenschulz via Flickr.