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Plowed Over by the Grief Train

November 13, 2007

So… I knew I was sitting on the tracks. I knew the trains came and went at irregular times. But I didn’t see or hear the high-speed train that was coming at me today until it had completely spattered me in little bits across the tracks and the surrounding field.

Last night, I had a dream about my mom. She wasn’t in the dream, but her death was. She died differently in the dream… but it really hurt.

I woke up and was painfully aware of one thing. I am so upset that I never got to say goodbye. I mean, I knew that this bothered me. Of course it did. But I didn’t realize how angry I was at the fact that I didn’t get to see her just one more time.

It was about 9:00. My alarm was supposed to be going off in about 40 minutes. As I transitioned from that waking-up stupor, I was able to translate the emotions of my dream into the context of reality. I had this futile, fleeting hope that I might just fall back asleep.

And then it began… another session of squirming, gasping, sobbing, tossing, turning, clawing and writhing under the pain of it all.

And it didn’t stop.

In the midst of it, I quite intently cried out to the Lord that I didn’t want to feel. Old habits die hard. I quickly repented and sought instead to find my Comforter in the midst of that debilitating pain that will follow me through the rest of my days on this wretchedly broken planet… until He returns. (Thankfully, goodness and mercy will follow me, as well.)

I remember thinking that I didn’t have time for it… I didn’t have time to still be grieving… not today. I had to teach at 11:00. And I had a busy day in the bookstore that was followed by fairly non-stop commitments until 2 AM, when our worship set ended. There just wasn’t a way to do what I apparently needed to do.

About 30 minutes in, though, I realized that I wasn’t going to stop crying. It wasn’t going to subside. I wasn’t going to be able to pull myself together. I wasn’t going to be able to shelf it for a later time.

I started heading in the direction of the bookstore, trying to figure out how to contact my boss at the Daniel Academy and trying to figure out what to do about the bookstore and getting my class covered.

That’s when the Lord’s greatest gift of the day found me and asked if I was OK.

Therese Engle. Amazing woman. Everyone I have talked to today has shared similar testimonies of the extraordinary love that this woman walks out. How she exudes the love of God, to the point of a truly glowing countenance. I am so grateful… I have been thanking the Lord all day… that she found me and she approached me.

With her incredible help, we contacted the Daniel Academy and she set it up for someone to pray for me in the Prayer Room while I cried it out. She also accompanied me as I went in search of a substitute teacher and got the materials that he would need to fill in for me.

Which brings me to another individual that I have recognized as one of God’s greatest gifts to my life. David Scoggan.

I can’t even imagine the awkward situation that David found himself in. I was obviously present in the circumstance… but I cannot imagine what it must have been like from his perspective. He turned and there I was… his friend and coworker… who was clearly a mess. (Keep in mind, at this point, I had been crying for about 40 minutes, and most of that time was completely unrestrained.)

I asked him if he could sub for me. I saw the look on his face and it suddenly hit me. “Oh Lord, he probably doesn’t even have the option of saying ‘No,’ does he? Father, help him… whatever that looks like.”

He asked if our friend Chris could do it, but quickly said that he would when I said I didn’t know yet. Not only would I NOT be helping with bookstore stuff in the office for the day, but he also took an hour and a half to two hours of his time at the bookstore to serve me and my students.

And so I was free. I took the day off to grieve. I spent about two hours in the prayer room and had someone praying for me for the majority of that time. And the Holy Spirit ministered to me. (How incredible that GOD… the God of creation… the highest and the holiest… GOD would humble Himself to serve men.)

I eventually realized (maybe an hour or two into it all) that today was exacly 9 months since she passed away. Weird.

I miss her so much. I have all of these emotions swirling about within me. The pain won’t go away… not entirely. To not feel pain at the presence of death and injustice would be to shut myself off to reality and set myself in opposition to the heart and will of God for His creation.

But I know the God who weeps with me. I know the indwelling Spirit who is called my Comforter. I know the one who is the Firstborn from the dead… the firstfruits of the resurrection. I know the God of the promises… who is faithful to complete all that He has begun. I know that He will make it right, and I know that He is with me.

I cannot flee from His presence and I cannot flee from His love. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

That’s a really good thing.

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5 comments

  1. Quick note… Therese Engle didn’t know me at all. I was just a stranger who was clearly distraught.


  2. I know how you feel about not saying goodbye. I still have those dreams about my mom that seem completely normal only to wake up and lose her again.

    It was two years years ago yesterday and I could swear it was a lifetime. So much has changed in the past two years and some things never will.

    You are always in my thoughts. Your mother was one of the most amazing people I have ever met and she helped me through so much.


  3. I know this is going to sound weird, but good for you! Letting the grief out when needed is so important to your healing. I’m glad to hear you were able to go with it. It stinks, but it helps. We’re praying…


  4. Christine, praying that today is a better day!


  5. I wish I could just wrap my arms around you and give you a big hug, your in my prayers.



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