Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Today my mother would have turned 60. If she had lived, would we spend it together? Would she hold my Lily and tell her she loves her? Would she open a gift I picked out thoughfully? Would we even speak?

Too many questions, and no answers.

I read a blog nearly a year ago, written by a father that had lost his 10 week old child. He spoke so beautifully of being thankful to God IN a circumstance rather than thankful FOR it. God calls us to be thankful for all things, good and bad. He was struggling to be thankful FOR the death of his child and everything it was teaching him. Impossible, I thought to myself. Simply impossible. We can't be thankful for such a devastating loss...can we?

No. I don't think it's human nature to be thanful for such devastation. But what we can be is thankful for the lessons it brings.

My mother was not meant to have children. It was not in her to be nurturing. She was sick to the bone, and brought chaos wherever she landed. I was simply a tagalong casualty to her madness.

I was bitter. I was angry. I looked at friends who had two parents that cared for them. I listened to mothers as they talked to their daughters in grocery stores, in shopping malls, at the theater. I listened to the kindness. I ached, bone deep.

So I stayed mired. I was young, and I was angry. I didn't understand half of what I do now.

And now is what matters. I still grieve for my lack. I still feel the void like the grand canyon in my soul.

But, I am thankful FOR what was done to me. I am thankful FOR what was lost. I am thanful for every blow, for every scarring word. I thank God for the abandonment, for the pain, for the tears, for the lonely days. I am thankful, thankful, thankful to my God for the burdens He set upon me.

If I had never had these circumstances...would I have craved God like I do? And without God, who would I be? Where would I be? Some broken down junkie, some streetwalker, some shell of myself. I am a lie without Him, and I would have never reached for Him had I not had the lack I was needing to fill.

Who would I be without compassion? Without the tender heart that I try to hide? Would I be the same mother, the same wife, the same friend? No. Would I love with everything in me if I took love for granted? Would I treasure peace and tranquility in my home if I never knew chaos and fear? No, no and no.

And I am not perfect. I am a work in progress. But without death and sickness and madness and my parent's turned backs, I would not speak God's name. I wouldn't cry out to Him, I wouldn't fall to my knees. I wouldn't feel the uplifting rush of peace or love when I give myself over.

My mother was just 46 when she died. She passed away, lonely and surrounded by strangers in a rented room in a town nobody can remember. She was sick and in pain. She blamed everyone and everything for her life. She steeped herself in bitterness, drove away everyone who ever loved her. She defeated everyone in her path. She wounded and clung and hurt.

That could be me. Easily. I could have gone down that same road. But I reached for God. He made me everything I am today. He healed me of the things that were meant to heal, and let the others lie just under the skin- roadmaps of a path I cannot take. Some things he took entirely from my memory. Some things He allows me to remember because, although painful, they are necessary for my life. For me to remember.

For me to be THANKFUL.

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Baca, make it a well; the rain also fills the pools. They go from strength to strength—every one of them in Zion appears before God." Psalm 84:5-7

"Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Zion." Psalm 84:5-7