IN AN INSTANT I’M SNAPPED BACK to a caravan park scene, tents pitched, games played, nature walks had; my three girls and I camping so innocently and keenly; ‘young and vulnerable the family unit’ is the vision.
Not long earlier—only several months—the family unit had crumbled. The four of us were left to pick up the pieces and make a four-some rather than the five-some we’d previously grown so accustomed to.
But this is a story really of victory and strength in weakness, not defeat and weakness alone. And that’s the legacy I want to leave.
When we camped, the girls and I wouldn’t prepare that much; we’d just pack the tents and sleeping bags and any food we could lay our hands on (with Mum and Dad’s help!) and we’d be off. It was usually preceded, however, by at least a phone call to ensure a booking could be made to avoid any disappointment upon reaching our destination.
But the real story is the strength that each of us showed back then. Why is it we can only appreciate, truly, years afterward i.e. in reflection, the massive investment of faith of each of us, not to give up but to forge ahead and create a brand new family identity. I guess looking back the option of giving up didn’t look that attractive.
And this is the lesson I learned in separation and divorce, against my will. I learned a lot about accepting the things I could not change back in those days; indeed, God I’m sure probably thought I was a slow learner for I had many, many opportunities to apply my burgeoning acceptance.
The vision I received—the abovementioned one—came one very warm summer’s night lying on the trampoline in the backyard with my wife gazing at the stars. Gazing into the night’s sky somehow facilitated the memory and without half a second’s warning tears streamed from my eyes running down irritatingly into my ears. I just felt like it was such a huge demand of those girls aged 11, 8 and 5, that they had to, with me, pick up the pieces of the family tragedy none of us wanted.
The tears honoured their bravery and how stoic they were—and still are. They also honoured my parents for their patient tenacity and faith. Finally, the tears honoured my God, for he gently reminds me of the cherishable pain that forever remains—and in experiencing the fullness of the moment and this pain I’m continually healed. Words don’t really justify what this is about, but I must try to express myself.
You see, there are millions of others who are dealt the very same blows, but not all find healing so easily. I looked for a Bible verse that somehow communicates how this feels; this one is close:
“[T]he Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.”
~Isaiah 30:26b (NIV).
When we finally accept that this wrong world will inflict pain upon us against our wills, that God in his love allows these things to happen as he won’t force himself over anyone, and we also surrender to the ministry of his healing Presence we can be gladdened by these otherwise “painful” memories.
God turns these so called painful memories into trophies of his grace, legacies of his provision and pearls of his mercy. It really must be experienced to believe this; multi-pronged forgiveness comes in an instant and healing—of a more-than-sufficient variety—occurs. This is because the memories are so soothing we welcome them—we do not fear them; we embrace them!
How great is God that he covers all our transgressions this way? I’m continually enthralled!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.