Friday, January 31, 2014

Do angels have shovels; Guilty as charged.

Yesterday I sat outside Paisley's dance class listening to a conversation between two moms who do not know me, my life, or my story. Completely unaware of the words coming out of their mouths with me sitting a couple feet away floods of guilt covered my soul once again.

I don't even know who they were talking ab but their story resolved with the tough decisions at the sudden end of a life. The moments of deciding that's all their loved one could take, that's all they could take or allow their family to bear. The decisions to have family there or not. The decisions that come flying in your face faster than life could possibly prepare you for. Things that get dealt to you that seem so far beyond your means... Too fast to brace yourself for the fall. The frantic calls, the anxious breaths. I could feel it in my lungs again as I heard the unassuming words seep from their lips.  I heard sniffling. And I feel the wailing deep in my loins.

The guilt of each move I made that night attempts to haunt me.   Will it ever not?

I've sworn to myself I will write in detail every single thing I remember about that night. Every time I try I fail and curl up in a ball. Just as I did that night.

I know that I know that I know God is sovereign and powerful and in control far beyond anything I will possibly hear, see or learn in this life, but does that ever prevent us from seeking some sort of revelation or asking the hard questions to our grieving, guilt-filled hearts?  Will it ever satisfy?

As they continued to talk, a pregnant woman sat just seats over from me with her hand sweetly resting on her belly. A baby sat on the floor gazing at his mother and the moments of that night flash before the eyes of my soul. Moments I long to remember each detail of-  the shape of his face and scent of his skin... but how so selfishly I wish I could permanently erase it from time. Moments I hope to never re-live but some how pray I don't loose what they have sewn in the depths of me.

This week I mentioned guilt to a friend and she stopped me and said, "What do you mean, you deal with guilt??"  It seems easy to me too. If only it weren't my story. Of course it wasn't my fault. Doctors told me over and over nothing I could ever possibly have done caused the problems he had.  Nothing I could have done could change how things progressed or how things ran their course...how life was slowly ripped from his grip. 

But do I believe that?  If it were only that easy.  This is the rub.

As a mother you long for, strive for, fight tooth and nail for your child. To protect them, to guard them, to nurture them. They take one step off the sidewalk- you jump with all your might. They get a cold- you worry what you exposed them to. They have an accident and you think of all the ways you could have prevented it.


The weeks after Gibson's death this indescribable guilt washed over me in waves.  Maybe more like a tsunami. I never saw it coming, never heard the quake and suddenly I was drowning in it. What did I do wrong?  What did I do during my pregnancy?  What did I do to deliver early?  How did I cause all the problems?  What decisions of the thousands I made regarding his care were wrong?  What more could I have done?

That night. That awful night.
Was I wrong to guard the hearts of the ones I loved, the ones that so loved him?  Was I wrong to want to run away?  Such fast and hard decisions we had to make while our hearts were in a state of shock.  Did we make the right choices?  


And then in the months following a new guilt rolled in...
Last weekend I was sick with the stomach bug and I got caught up on my favorite show Downton.  During this awful episode there was a quote that cut me to the core.  Isobel Crawley, Mathews mother, said this, 
"But you see I have this feeling that when I laugh or read a book or hum a tune it means that I've forgotten him for just a moment.  And it's that that I can't bear."

That's the guilt of it.  We move on and lives move on but with that comes guilt.  Daniel's birthday is tomorrow.  Last year he turned 30 and I wanted to celebrate.  It seemed weird to be able to celebrate anything 2 months after life had stood still.  Love, laughter, friends and life filled the lonely grief-stricken walls of our house and it was reviving, yet followed with a tinge of guilt.  For a while every good moment was such a blessing and such a confusing ball of tightly wound guilt

The guilt of enjoying life with these sweet ones I've been entrusted with but longing to be with the one gone before...

Usually people struggle with guilt from a sin.  So what if it is not from a sin?  Can guilt itself be a sin?  I wouldn't go that far.  But I would firmly say that it can lead to destruction.

Psalms 103:2-4, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;"

I repeat those words in my head.  His plans are to prosper and not to harm me... I am to walk in full knowledge of and with Christ, it is for freedom Christ has set me free, old things passed away... all things new...  

Philippines 3:13, "...this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."

This morning on the way to school Ryder and I had a funny conversation which I briefly referenced on Facebook.  His timing is (per normal) priceless.  And the whole way home I was dying inside with thoughts of the various things he could have walked in and told his teacher...

He says out of no where, "Mommy, turn the music down (here we go...)" 
"Do angels have shovels?"

(UMMMM. What?!?)  More calmly than that I ask what he meant as we are literally 45 seconds from pulling into the school.

"You know, to take the bodies to heaven," he says very nonchalant.

We continue in the rapid conversation of souls, new bodies - new HEALED bodies like Gibson has.  I mention that bodies are just the earthly dwellings, they can be put in the ground... the ocean... He hops out of the car and I'm stumbling over my words, retracting the ocean comment knowing he has no clue what that means and thinking of all the things that could come from that!  
He kisses me and says bye.  Unfazed.  With sweet belief he skips down the sidewalk.

This guilt & grief stricken world is not my home.  Heaven is near.  And that's the glory of it all.  Ryder's sweet faith-filled, believing heart is the relief from guilt and questioning for today.  Thank you God for answering me each day in new ways...

2 Corinthians ...we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come....

5 comments:

An Average Housewife and the Federal Government said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Goosby said...

Beautiful, Beth! I pray for you often.

Carrie Stephens said...

Here's what I remember from that night: the way you loved Gibson. I remember how you wanted to know what you were supposed to do, and I remember that it was impossible to know what that was. Because *supposed to* doesn't fit into that night at all. Maybe the real lesson I have learned from Gibson's life is that *supposed to* doesn't seem fit into life much at all. And the lesson I have learned from you, dear friend, is that love and grief are deep oceans, and the ones who brave their depths are blessed.

Unknown said...

I love Ryder.
How God uses the naive questions of children to change our perspectives and hearts is so amazing.

Anonymous said...

I know the Lord loves you.
I am so appreciative of your willingness to share your thoughts with others.
Your family continues to be in my prayers.