I feel girlish, silly even, to say that sweet little statement above. If I've learned anything in my mere 3 decades it is that happiness isn't the ultimate goal in life and it certainly never comes how I might have expected. Many authors these days are all about the secret to happiness and unfolding it in 300 quite monotonous pages. This is especially true if you are a Christian author because of all people shouldn't your typical Christian be the happiest of all? We've got God and Jesus and all of the angels and special powers on our side, right?
Well, as I experienced first hand this past year and a half my faith and my happiness are not directly related though I found that once I finally got the first one the second one came with a little more ease. I've given myself alot of grace from that last year. I wasn't a good friend to anyone. I feel if anything that I "took" a whole lot from everyone...prayers, meals, sympathy, consoling, and whatever else and I really had nothing to give to anyone. I certainly was not a good wife but luckily I married a very understanding person and our marriage has truly flourished from that awful year and the nights of sobbing, the missed work days, and even from the lack of sleep. I was okay at the mom thing but that was only because the boys weren't necessary old enough to know better and whatever I did have to give seemed to go to them. I know I wasn't a good sister or daughter or servant but certainly not a "good Christian" if you can be one. For the first time I was truly faced with something that money, time, a doctor, a medicine, a vacation, a massage, a special visit from a special friend, a prayer meeting with hands laid on my head and everything couldn't fix. Of course I couldn't see it then but I am starting to see now as each day gets a little brighter than that place...that place with no answers tied on the top of the package in a pretty bow...that that is right where God had me.
Many mornings now I wake up - which is so beautiful to say - and I try hard to recall what it used to feel like...how long the days were but how much longer each night was alone and awake. Once I start to visualize what it looked like I have to stop because my heart starts racing. Then sometimes during the day I will try to remember the days with the two active boys looking at me so edibly, so affectionately and I remember feeling like there was no light in my eyes to look back at them. I felt dirty and ungrateful. No matter how bad things were I had these boys and Brad and shouldn't that fix everything? It made everything not as dark but as I said, there was no answer to the place I was in last year....it was one messy, twisted, complicated, sticky, unknown mess with no bow on top.
But today I know I couldn't feel the Christmas music on the radio the way I do now. I couldn't enjoy the meaningless conversation with a stranger at the park. I couldn't take in the quiet of the afternoon nap like I get to do today if I hadn't truly walked through the valley that I walked through last year. Everything now seems so much bigger and grander than it ever did before and even before this past year. A quick kiss from Brad as he leaves the door stays with me throughout the day. Hearing Brooks pray at night lingers in my head for hours where before I smiled a crooked smile and knew I was missing the whole blessing though hearing it for myself. The cold air today feels that much colder and the smell of the Christmas candle burning in the kitchen runs throughout my veins and it's like I can feel it all over me the way I used to feel what I described as a current going through me all day and night to keep me going. Yuck yuck yuck.
Lastnight Brad came home in the rain and dark. It was a Monday and a Monday after a long, great weekend of giving thanks. It was just set up to not be a pleasant environment when he walked in the door. To his surprise, everything was kinda perfect. Yall know I am not one to brag about how leave-it-to-beaver-ish my home is because often, it may look reeeaaallly good on the blog or facebook but yall know it isn't always that lovely - that magazine worthy. Last night it was. Yes, the fire was going, the tree lit, the house straight, dinner was simmering, and the boys were giggling at each other from their chairs and their squeals when daddy walked in the door could have melted the hardest of hearts. That was all nice and yes, very perfect, but it wasn't what Brad felt and what I had felt the whole day. It was something bigger, deeper, wider, grander, and more sincere then a candle that would fade and holiday music that will end in another month. It was the inner sense of peace that almost always can only come after having walked through a valley and having come out on the other side. And I am not even saying - having come out "healed" because who know what is in store - but having come out with your hands fully open, surrendering to a God who, fortunately, knows what is best. Even if His best is another pregnancy and another little one under one roof. It's this - having surrendered to wanting the bow on top of everything. I used to think there was a reason and an answer for everything and certainly if there was going to be struggle than there was going to be an overwhelming reason for that struggle. This whole thing proved me wrong and taught me the most valuable lesson...that not everything can be explained - atleast not immediately. We have to get to a place where we are okay with that and that is where that "trust in the Lord" thing comes in play in a real way. Real trust....the hard kind...is where the genuine happiness is hidden.
"I'm so happy," I told Brad as he walked in the kitchen. I haven't said that in so long. Actually, I may have said that but I haven't felt that in so long. Not only do I feel favored as anyone would who had been through so much and felt so rescued but I feel so lucky to have had such a horrific experience and to be able to truly "feel" now. Sadness, grief, joy, sympathy, exuberance, humility, hot, cold, music, pain, thankfulness, sorrow, shock, gratitude...I can finally feel it all for the first time in many years.
And I finally get that thing I have been telling people since I started going to church. I finally know what that "peace that passes all understanding" feels like and honestly, it has a little to do with the fact that things are better, yes, but more to do with the fact that I had to finally let go of alot of things I was holding onto in order to receive this legitimate peace.
Beg God for the Miracle of Humility
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