Monday, January 17, 2011

True Friend?

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I have been struggling in a relationship with a "friend" of mine...I don't know whether to call her my friend or not because I haven't really decided if I like her or not...hence, the struggle.

Her name is Grief. What? You know her? I thought you might...

Grief is not the life of the party...not that fun to have around or keep around...

But, sometimes she is so good for me. Grief knows how to push me into places that I am too fearful to venture into. She doesn't just leave me there, either. She helps me move forward. I have always realized these things about Grief's character, and usually I am pretty good at being friends with most people. In the past I have chosen to embrace Grief, despite her overall nature of making people cry, scream, fall, question, doubt, run, etc. I know that she brings truth, that reality that is many times too hard for me to realize on my own, but lately I have been avoiding Grief. I know. I am a terrible person for trying to avoid her. I have just not been wanting to be in the places that she often takes me. Normally, I would be totally willing, but this time, I just don't want to.

I know. I feel kind of bad. She means well. She wants to help me. Maybe I should let her into my life more. A little bit of Grief can't hurt, right?

Wrong. Grief hurts. A lot. And that hurt doesn't usually go away so quickly. Maybe I have been avoiding the grieving process because I know how much energy and time and life it takes out of me. Maybe it's because I know how much I hurt and how much crying I would need to do before the grieving was over. I am fearful of entering a state of depression or of facing my hurt at all.

The reality of the situation, though, is that Grief needs to come over to my apartment and hang out with me for a little while. She always knows the right time to leave, and she usually brings her delightful friend Hope with her when she visits me. The reality of the situation is that I am hurting. I am not the only one hurting.

I have spent a bit of time during the past few months telling myself, "This is not how it was supposed to be. This is not what I intended to make of this situation at all. It's chaos. It's fallen apart. It was beautiful, and now when I try to fix anything, it falls apart in my hands." I only let those thoughts linger for a moment before seeking out an escape from them. Those are the reality, though. I am not in control, and when I try to be in control, I royally screw things up. I am not in charge of my future. I cannot control other people and make them into what I think they should and could be. Wake up call-- I am not God. I should not try to BE God.

As I said before, I am not the only one hurting in this whole thing. God and Grief are actually (unfortunately? fortunately?) pretty good friends ever since Adam and Eve took that big step toward their demise. And Cain and Abel. And Lot. And Judah. And David. And Solomon. And all those other people that tried to please God, but still inevitably screwed up their lives. God grieves over the world and the trouble that inhabits it. God grieved when he saw that no one on the earth was pursuing Him except for Noah. God grieved when he saw that he had to flood the entire earth. God grieves with every small and large scandal, violence, war, hatred, prejudice, immorality, unjustness that happens on this side of heaven.

God grieves and says, "This is not how it was supposed to be. This is not what I intended to make of this situation at all. It's chaos. It's fallen apart. It was beautiful, and now when I try to fix anything, people rip it apart in my hands." God places us and sets us up for the greatest good we could ever know, and we run away in fear, wanting to control it because it feels safer to us. Then we end up in the ditch wondering how we got there and why God has left us. God did not leave. I left and refused to admit my fear. God grieves for me, even if I can't muster up the courage to accept the fact that I should be grieving, too.

So now it begins. Decidedly. I am going to send Grief an invitation into my life so that I can move forward, relinquish whatever control I am deceiving myself to have, and let God direct my path. Grief will help me scramble out of the thorny bushes, out of my embarrassment, and back into the warmth of the light peeking through the storm clouds and shining on the path.

Grief, want to be my friend again, if only for a time?

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