A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array;
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love:
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.
(Romeo & Juliet, 3.3.141)
You are alive-- there art thou happy.
You lived through surgery-- there art thou happy.
You have a beautiful home and a job you love-- there art thou happy.
You have a husband who loves you and takes care of you and makes you laugh every day-- there art thou happy.
You are surrounded with faithful, loving friends and family-- there art thou happy.
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back, Samantha-- happiness spreads itself out at your feet every day in a thousand ways, singing and springing forth in a thousand voices, but, like a spoiled child who is used to everything working out just as she wants it, you pout when your foot stumbles down a tough path. Watch out! Pay attention-- this is no way to live your life, and if you choose to do so, you might as well have died that day, too.
But, oh, Benjamin Joseph Swaney, I love you. Oh God, I long for him. I crave his presence in my life today.
You wanna know the key to the fact that this line of thinking is not crushing?
Because my Father does not ever, not for one second, begrudge me my grief, even 730 days later. Oh, my Father is gracious in His mercy-- He is boundless in His compassion. He alone perfectly understands every thought and emotion that races through my head and heart at warp speeds. He knows each one. He does not indulge me: He understands and loves me.
I've been told that I am remarkably in touch with my emotions.
My poor husband. I'm hard to follow sometimes. My dad says he's watched me do it my whole life-- I can feel a thousand emotions all the way through and name them, all in about 20 seconds.
Losing Ben took me to a level of feeling stuff that I never knew existed.
When your child dies before he ever had a chance to live, your mind rushes through a seemingly endless list:
-Wait-- what? I took all my prenatal vitamins.
-I went to every dr. appt, I didn't drink Diet Coke or anything even questionable.
-What did I do?
-I thought you loved me, God.
-Why did you even let me get pregnant in the first place if this was going to happen?
-Did You know this was going to happen?
-What do I do with his things? Why did You let me buy those clothes, Lord? Didn't You know?
-What do You know? The knowable? What does that even mean?
-Was this Your "will"?
-Am I to believe You were trying to teach me something? Couldn't You have just led me to a book or something?
-What's going on up in heaven that You decided to bring him up there now?
-Did you know that I would be a terrible mother so you just saved him from countless hours of therapy?
-Was he going to have a dread disease, so you took him before he could suffer?
-Was he going to be a criminal, so you took him before others could suffer?
-Are you mad at me? Did I disappoint You? Not pass a test?
But if you don't take this list and submit it as quickly as possible to Jesus, the King of your soul, the Lord and Keeper of your everything, you can drown in it. Bitterness and fear and anger and misery will overwhelm you. More than one time, I have had to picture myself running to Him, stapling my list to His throne, pushing it into His hands, and begging for more mercy-- more grace, more patience, more faith, to be able to wait until my faith becomes sight, to understand "Oh God, why?"
Did I say "why?"
I meant "Oh, God, whhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?"
The Lord reigns. He is the answer to every question. The fact that He can see all of the things that I cannot see has become one of the most comforting things I've experienced this last two years. Oh, friend whose heart is aching-- oh, dear woman whose arms are empty, He knows. He hears the cry of every aching heart-- and we are deceived by one who hates us if we believe that He is uncaring, or powerless, or cruel. Our Father sees that we are made of clay and we live in a world that is made of clay. We live in a place where things that hurt happen every day. He saves us from more things than we actually walk through. Can you imagine what all this will look like when He shows us all the things we didn't see? When we see this life from heaven's perspective?
The Lord reigns
Let the earth be glad
Let the distant shores rejoice
clouds and thick darkness surround Him
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne
fire goes before Him and consumes
His foes on every side
His lightning lights up the world
the earth sees and trembles
the mountains melt like wax before the Lord
before the Lord of all the earth
the heavens proclaim His righteousness
and all peoples will see His glory...
The earth is the Lord's, and everything that is in it.
If the earth is the Lord's, and I am the Lord's, there is something sacred and eternal that I am touching when I touch this thing that has happened to my life. My child, my son, was taken immediately to the Most High God for reasons that He has not chosen to reveal to me, but if I can fix my gaze upon Him... If I can strap the blinders to my head and focus on Him alone, suddenly things are not hopeless.
This life is not about you or me. It's about Him and His beauty and His great worth, and there are very few ways to really get to Him-- the way is narrow and straight. It seems the more desperate I get for comfort, the more willing I am to stay my focus on Him. The more I search for His worth. The more I am grateful for His redemption.
Oh, our friends.
|What a pack of blessings lights up upon thy back...and these are some of their names...|