Today, 8/29/12 is the one year anniversary of my sister’s death.
I almost forgot, except for the fact the cemetery called about her missing headstone.
When I asked God for help just one year ago, I expected him to send me straight back to church. Instead, he sent me hiking up a mountain where tired and lost, I heard his voice. Frustrated after several falls and going in circles I yelled “I didn’t think this would be so hard!” To my surprise, I heard a quiet, but very clear voice asking “If you had known, would you have come?” I laughed out loud. No, I guess I wouldn’t have… My thoughts drifted to the many times in my life, where if I’d known how difficult the journey would be, I would have never started.
- I would have never gone to college, or nursing school, or finished graduate school – if I’d known.
- I would never have gotten married and never had children – if I’d known.
- If I’d known how long it would take or how hard it would be to watch my mother die, I would not have stayed at her beside night and day, slept at the foot of her bed, bathed her body, medicated her with morphine.
- I would not have been able to take my sister off life-support if I’d known I’d be the only one with her as she died.
- If I’d known I’d have to demand that she have at least basic medication for pain and sedation after they pulled out the tubes, I would have stayed home, too afraid of such an enormous task.
- And if I’d known that my 82-year-old father would actually attempt and survive a 19 hour flight to the Philippines to meet up with an online dating scammer; known that even though he hadn’t set foot on an airplane for 40 years; known that in spite of every attempt I made to try to save him….I could have spared myself a lot of heartache, anxiety and aggravation
But I didn’t know.
Thank God I didn’t know. I don’t regret any of it. Not a single thing. Every difficult passage and challenge has been worth it. I’m so glad I didn’t know.
I used to believe that love is tenacious, it never let’s go, it never gives up. But that was last year. The past 12 months and 365 days have softened me.
Love is brave, yes, but being brave does not mean charging ahead blindly trying to save everyone or fix everything. Knowing when it’s time to walk away, knowing how and when to let go, out of love for someone else and yourself, transforms you both. Simply showing up and being present for another, listening from the deepest part of your heart is more than enough. I have learned that the healing is not in the doing. The healing is in the be-ing.
As we allow ourselves the gift of healing, we can heal others. Our healing not only offers hope, it gives permission to do the same.
What a relief to know that God loves us enough to care about all the little details of our life. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him better this year. I’ve realised He’s not the formal, guilt-inducing, booming voice in the cloud God of my childhood, but is in fact a loving father who knows exactly what I need to heal. A loving creator who knows exactly what will bring out His best in us, and our only true source of healing.
I now understand that love can stand back and loosen its’ grasp. Love doesn’t have to hold on so tightly to prove itself worthy or good enough. Love can be just as powerful when it stands beside you, waits for you and welcomes you home.