There are times I just don’t know what to do anymore. The great sadness is so in front of me that I can’t see anything else. It takes my breath away. I want to run from it or become very angry or do addictive stuff. I don’t know what to do with this and most of all I want to push it away from me. Far, far away.
This sadness pops up at the strangest moments. I walk upstairs, smell something and bam! I am one year back in time. It is as if it all just happened yesterday and Amanda is still in her room. In her crib. Silent. Then I realize: Yes! I have another child! Where is she?
At moments like these it is so real for me that I am amazed. Because at other moments I just enjoy life and also I do not think of her every second of the day. Although, when I am really honest, it is always slumbering present. Like a thread woven through everything. You cannot pull it out.
‘What if you just allow it to be there? That you just tell God how you feel, how sad you are and how hard it all is. And that you just sit quietly and that God comes sitting next to you and He puts His arm around you?’
This is what a sweet lady said to me some weeks ago when I told her that I did not know how to deal with this deep pain inside, while I just want to be there for the children, do my job, live my life. Her answer freed me somehow. It made me think of the song ‘Just be held’, a song I listened to a lot in the first weeks after Amanda’s birth.
Yes. What if I just let it be there? Then I feel the brokenness. The brokenness of my own heart, my life. Then I feel how vulnerable I am. Then I realize that I have so many questions: Why? How would she have been now? How can I go on? How do I help my children? God, are You really there?
If I just let it be there, if I become honest and if I allow God in it, then I realize that God is indeed standing next to me. He is listening. I only need to be who I am wíth my pain and questions, ín my brokenness and vulnerability. Actually, that is why I called this website ‘broken but real’.
I don’t know what God will do then. That is why I find this so hard, even scary. But the times that I tried to ‘just let everything be’, I noticed that He was there. That He really wants to carry me through, even though it is not clear to me why things worked out the way they did and why there is still so much going on today in our lives.
Not long ago I found a little book in the bookstore, with this title (translated out of Dutch): ‘Even if the hardest sorrow hits you’. It is a translation of the book written in 1674: ‘A token for mourners’ by John Flavel. He had to bury more than one loved one, also children. He tries to encourage, out of his faith: ‘do not try to hastily shake off the yoke that God has put on your shoulders. You should not want to be freed of your sadness before Gods time. Persevere with endurance. When God gives you comfort, in His time and mannner, this comfort will be lasting and wholesome.’
I cried when I read this and saw the connection with what the woman said to me before. I try to shake off my grief again and again. I try to live as if nothing happened. But it is better to allow the pain and the sorrow to just be there and allowing God to sit next to me. Even though I might not receive answers to my questions. Even when situations don’t change and even though illness, death, bullying, divorces and all kind of misery keep on occurring.
Because we are broken people. Allowed to just be there.
First published in Dutch on April 18, 2018