I just read a chapter of a book my soul needed to read. It is from the book “The Christian Art of Dying” by Allen Verhey
It is when he talks about mourning.
“Mourners are visionaries who ache with the wounds of the world”.
I talk about soccer a lot. That was a community I loved so much. It helped me find myself, and it was community for our whole family. We were all in it together, and we all lost together. In a way, my family learned how to lament together–and we all felt it differently.
Believing a child cost us everything and everyone involved in the story with the coach. Meaning our kids teams, and another team Jake built and had given away was taken from our club and went somewhere else. The story is darker than that, but no need to rehash.
The story unfolded over time. The big shock came first and we tried to play through it. We still had the teams for a bit and had to keep going. Conceal don’t feel. We even took on more burdens so others would not have to feel the pain. We thought we were protecting people from a harsh reality, even though we were dying inside. And the harsh reality was not going anywhere. We had to ignore that and keep people happy. That did not go well.
Trying to protect people from change and not deal with our own grief will turn into cruelty-cruelty to ourselves and from others. The second year brought more fall-out and that is when we saw we lost everything and accepted our losses. We thought we lost everything, that is. This is a grief I will feel forever. But I would not take back believing the child. The child was worth losing everything for.
I lament this moment in time, and I do not blame anyone for being unable to comfort us anymore. We are not a culture that knows how to comfort. We only know how to fix and keep going. Now we are doing this communally in a pandemic. People are realizing their way of life is over and refusing to accept it. And those of us who know we have to change, are at the mercy of waiting for people to take this seriously. I can’t think of a time in my history where the church is being called to sit and listen-then respond.
The path to joy is ironically going through grief first. When Jesus said blessed are those who mourn-they will be comforted; he was not lying. I have not left my faith because Jesus knows how to comfort. And those who mourn and have been comforted will be the comforters in this time of deep grief for all of us communally-accepting the reality or not.
I am telling church and seminary that you cannot change people because we can’t. We will carry an unnecessary burden trying, and the vulnerable keep getting hurt and you will too. Jesus left the 99 for the 1. He is not worried about protecting anything other than God’s creation. What man has built, if it not of God, will be struck down. We can’t prevent that from happening. Best to live faithfully. I lived through a loss I did not want to happen at all. But instead of death, I was led to life. My faith is believing this for all of us right now.
I do not regret the love I felt and still feel for the soccer community. I experienced a vision of how it can be, and I mourn that it did not last; it will one day. Where I am now shows me that.
Unfortunately, my HSA is out of funds for my therapy. Something I now have to figure out to stay healthy when I do suffer from depression. Part of the reality of the not yet is having to put financial needs and healthcare up against each other.
Already and not yet.