This post is in conjunction with the release of my e-book, Letters to Grief, which is available on Amazon for just $0.99.
Please join me in welcoming Joy, and maybe even take a moment to thank her for sharing by leaving a comment at the end of the post? Thanks for reading, and thank you, Joy, for blessing us with your honest words today!
“I feel like God is a big jerk who gets pleasure from taking things from me.”
The words come out as tears run down my hot cheeks.
I am tired, on the brink of depression, and feeling trapped in a space that is suffocating in a city I don’t yet love.
My husband listens. He is there with me in my tears and grief. He is struggling, too.
I repeat the words to my counselor. They are ugly, difficult, but oftentimes feel like so much truth to me.
Some weeks later, we open the doors to our POD and a bad dream has come true. We see puddles, smell the scent of mildew and feel cardboard crumble beneath our fingers. Moving to a brand new city, leaving everything we know and love behind has been a kind of hard I never expected. But this is completely out of left field.
We assess the damage. A lifetime of journals ruined. Words poured out to a God I believe hears even when I’m not sure He cares. Art that has been made with hours of love poured out on canvas and layered on paper. Destroyed. It is irreplaceable and unquantifiable.
My dad died in December.
Some days I feel incredible loss. Others I feel relief. But most days I don’t know what to feel. I am numb. Our relationship was a disaster and his death leaves a different kind of hole.
In January, we started preparing for a cross country move and in March, we came to a city thousands of miles away from home. For the first six weeks we not only grieved what we left behind, but the trouble that seemed to wait for us behind every corner.
Moving to Houston has reminded me of the parts of grief I had forgotten.
Parting from those closest to us reminded me of my first husband’s death. Of how I wanted to to stop dreaming. Stop hoping for the future. Because you certainly cannot see the death of dreams if you don’t have any.
Saying goodbye to a city I loved reminded me of standing in the airport and putting the Colombian orphan we loved as our own son on a plane. It reminded me how I never wanted to open my heart again. You cannot have holes in your heart if you refuse to let anything take up space there in the first place. Giving up the life I loved reminded me of our miscarriages and failed adoption. Of what it feels to have something wrenched from your hands as you try desperately to cling to it.
I know grief intimately and yet I feel that grief is unknowable. It is broad, full of surprises and all encompassing. You never know what it may deal up next or where it may choose to show up unexpectedly.
Perhaps you’ve gathered this already, but I can’t wrap this up with a nice bow for you. I can’t tell you anything amazing about how to survive loss, suffering, or tragedy. I’m in the middle of it all over again, and if I’m honest, so many of my past losses have yet to be fully grieved. But recently I read this from Emily P. Freeman:
“He doesn’t shame me for my hesitation to trust Him. But He is inviting me to set those hesitations aside.”
So what if we sit in these hard places instead of running from them? What if we feel the ugly emotions, and experience the grey, and ask God all the hard questions? What if we’re not afraid to be mad at Him and not understand Him? What if we don’t hurry through grief and try to wrap it all up with a nice bow and move on?
That’s where I am. It’s hard. I don’t like it. But it is reality in this season. So I’m inviting you to join me. So that together in the midst of the difficulty we can begin to set our hesitations aside and let God regrow our faith.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Let me know where you’re at on your journey or how you cope when life is at it’s darkest, because we’re in this together.
Joy is a Florida girl currently living in Houston, with her husband and drool-covered basset hound. She is currently accepting applications for people to do life with around her table (a.k.a. friends). She writes to women about living intentionally on mission at joybrudolph.com. Find her on Instagram @JoyBRudolphBlog, Twitter @JoyBRudolph, and on Facebook.