Monday, July 23, 2018

Those first dark months of grief

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

Darkness and aloneness and foreignness and brokenness.
Those long days of slow hours which gave way to weeks that morphed into months, and months that had days that felt like I was right back in the sordid beginning.
Grief recapitulates upon itself.
How did it undo me five months
after for a single day of hell
that caused me to pace the room
with thought to end it all?
Those first dark months undid me day after day, as grief stripped my soul of its peace, and the anxiety of a lost soul overcame and became me.
It seemed that every single day, each moment as it were, I was never too far from a fear that would silence any courage of hope in me. There were whole hours where I could escape, but the cowering reality of the emptiness of loss was like a miasma that continually threatened. I had no idea what hit me. Not one hope. And yet, even in such hopelessness, God was my only hope.
There were also whole hours where I was blindsided in a tsunami of fear so unlike anything I’d ever experienced. The unrelenting power of the torrent. Grating confusion as to why and how I got there. Suffocating for breath. A reality that seemed so absolutely unreal. Panic attacks were the form of the season. And when you have no idea what a panic attack even is, they’re frightening experiences to endure.
One such experience I was fine minutes before midday, and I was a catatonic mess minutes after the hour. I couldn’t trust the seconds, let alone the minutes. Three days without sleep didn’t help. I quickly moved into a mental breakdown. My parents had no idea what to do, the day before my father went into knee surgery that would have him on crutches for nearly six months. It was a season that regularly broke us all, but we were there for each other, which steeled us for the trial we were enduring. The scariest thing amid a breakdown is there’s no warning; the end was happening, its own event, and I had no capacity to resist it, shut-in as a spectator in my own skin.
I recall going for a job interview on a very sad Tuesday, the 14th of October 2003. They were offering me a very attractive job. But I can still remember the absolute screaming fear in me as I sat there answering questions with competence yet questioning my very being! They had no idea who they were dealing with. The previous day I’d had the worst news possible and Satan continued to berate me. I had no sense for hope at all, and all faith I had at such moments was fundamentally extrinsic.
Walking ahead in faith with no assurance
of the Presence of the Lord is faith supreme.
The season in focus taught me one of life’s priceless lessons; a truth known at the cross that preceded the resurrection:
… you must go through hell to truly crave heaven on the other side.
We must know that when darkness surrounds and confounds us, God abides closer than ever. I could not see it at the time, but afterward I saw God’s fingerprints over everything. I have such fondness of recall for this the darkest days of my life.

Honestly, I am convinced that when we ‘consider it pure joy’ as we face ‘trials of many kinds’ God’s faithfulness cannot disappoint us, and a healing we hoped for materialises at the proper time (ref. James 1:2-4; Galatians 6:9).

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