I am tired of telling sad stories. Though at times therapeutic, telling your story makes it real, concrete, and final.
Recently, Grief has knocked heavily upon my door. She has been a constant visitor and one I have shrugged off for almost a year. Strength has been my best friend. She has cheered me and journeyed with me each step of this Epic Adventure. Grief was not welcomed or wanted. Nor did I have any time to entertain her. There were children to bathe, clothes and dishes to wash (by hand mind you)–and there were stories to be read and boo boos to kiss. I kept Grief at bay. Even at the “end” of our journey with our Ugandan kiddos…(if you missed that chapter you can learn more about it here)…Grief was not invited to the party because Hope had made her way to the forefront of the story line. Hope was carrying a banner waving, “Justice.” Her message comforted me. But a few weeks ago Heartbreak and Sorrow delivered a message of gut-wrenching proportion. They said that the two little ones we thought we protected and placed into good hands were actually taken back by Evil hands…ones not to be trusted. Trafficking hands that were protected by the police and bribery and social status. Reunification failed. Corruption, culture, and paternal biological “rights” all took precedence over the lives of precious little ones I love.
Anger and Bitterness busted down my door. Righteous Indignation followed. There were no words. There was no Justice. There was little Hope. Why? How? Seriously?
Because we have lived in this place, we know the ins and the outs, the law and the lawyers. The Embassy and all the players. We know the ethics. There was no option but to let our story end where it started. Our Epic Adventure has a tragic Shakespearean conclusion. Curtain close.
Grief tip-toed over and tapped on my window and asked if she could come in. I explained I was tired of living a sad story–and I wasn’t interested in the tears and the exhausting emotions involved in combing over the details with a fine toothed comb. She and I have hung out before…I wasn’t afraid of her presence; just wasn’t super stoked about re-hashing a year’s worth of sadness. Hmm…nope I’m good. This time her presence felt different, heavier. She said she wanted to keep me company. Since many of the folks around here have left and it is the rainy season (undoubtedly her favorite time of the year)…she seemed to linger. Recently she slipped in unnoticed to my room and sat down near the window. She watched the rain drops on the glass. She told me my story was hard…like insanely hard. She told me the Author of the story was still with me…and with my kiddos. She just hung out…SO not wanted–but SO not willing to leave. She handed me a book called Bittersweet and told me reading might be a good idea. Doubtful. I have lived a sad story I didn’t want to mourn it, never mind read someone else’s sad story. She told me it was actually an important part of the process. The raindrops turned to teardrops and they have been my constant companion.
Grief has become a frequent visitor. I have allowed her in…I have explained she is not welcome forever but I can see her presence as helpful, constructive even. She has reminded me of other Epic Adventures that were not over even when they seemed over. Stories woven with rich redemptive backdrops and threads of Grace and Goodness despite the deplorable storyline. She is showing me a Heart that is no stranger to Sorrow. A Heart that grieves for and with me over the children I called my own–and every child that has the same or an even more tragic story. She has shown me that this Heart is no stranger to pain. A Heart who enters in to deep, dark places and is present, active, and a Healer.
Grief told me today that it would be best to end the Epic Adventure. She told me that putting down this story would not mean giving up but letting go of the grip it has had upon our lives. Letting the curtains close will not mean lack of love or prayers or memories or that we will ever forget. Grief explained that letting the curtain close will bring closure to our part of the story. The Author is not done with their little lives. A bright and beautiful story will begin again.
“Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness.”
(bittersweet…thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way–shauna niequist)
Grief also reminded me that it is not good to be alone. Though I love to read and write and do home-body things…she expressed truth about how people we love can bring healing and health. She told me to visit friends and encouraged me to do so, sooner rather than later. She suggested we go find a place where our children can run and play with friends while we laugh, tell stories, eat kale, and drink wine. She explained that her job was to bring the raw and relationship together in one room…and healing will happen. My Girl Grief is turning out to be a wise one. I look forward to those moments in our near future…glad she stuck around…she’s not so terrible after all.
How can one feel the heaviness of a curtain closing and the comfort of a Creator wrapped together in the same moment?
Grief is still present, but her sister Hope is also my companion. I will hold unswervingly to Hope…because He who promised is faithful. Hope gives courage. Courage to one day be part of the Author’s next Epic Adventure.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,