Life is short...
We hear this saying all the time, but do we ever really grasp the meaning behind those words? Or do we simply let the words slip away as fast as we hear them?
I have thought about these words a lot these past two years of my life, but only now have I really stepped back and embraced those words for what they truly mean. I have recently experienced loss so hard that I cannot put the hurt I feel into words that would describe it clear enough.
First I lost my grandfather, a man who helped me believe that if you put your mind to anything it is possible. He also taught me that nothing in this life worth having is easy to get. It takes work and dedication. After years of alcohol abuse and the loss of his family because of it, he turned his life around and fought his way back into my father’s life. He was an imperfect father who turned out to be a wonderful grandfather because he allowed his loss to bring him to His knees in prayer.
Another great loss to our family was my father-in-law, Chris. Although I only had the honor of getting to know him for a few years, I learned a lot about him in this time. I learned that although his health was taking parts of his life away every day, that it was still worth living to its fullest. He proved that in his actions every day. From the moment he woke up to the moment he went to sleep, he just radiated happiness, thankfulness, and most of all, faith.
I wish I could say I lived every day to the fullest. That I did not let the small things just drag me to the pits. But that would be a lie. I wish I could live everyday like it was my last, but don’t we all?
How many times have we lost someone and said I am going to stop taking everything I have for granted? That we are going to start embracing our loved ones a little tighter and refrain from holding grudges against those who have done us wrong in the past. Or vow to dig into God’s word and promise to do better about praying.
Trying to understand loss, I have recently struggled with my faith.
Some say, “Well, everything happens for a reason.”
But have those people experienced the never ended excruciating pain in their gut from losing a loved one? For me, I wish I could say my faith has not been shaken to its core, that I have not questioned God more times than not.
How am I supposed to understand all of this? How am I supposed to be okay with losing very significant people in my life? How am I supposed to support my husband through the loss of his father? How is he supposed to support me through the loss of my grandfather? How are we supposed to look each other in the eye and promise it is all going to be okay when we are not even okay ourselves?
We cannot; it is not a guarantee that we are not going to go through more hardships, that we are not going to continue to struggle with loss.
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14 (ESV)
The loss of these two great men could never prepare us for the loss that came next in our life.
I remember how excited I was to tell my husband on Father’s day that he was going to be a first time father. I was so nervous but excited for this new journey we were going to be experiencing together. I thought of a million ways to tell him. Could I make a video? Should I have his mother do one of her rock pieces? Should I leave a pregnancy test out?
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to decide. I lost the baby while working a key shift at Texas Roadhouse. I have never felt a pain in my body like that before. I remember calling my mom and telling her for the first time that I was pregnant, but I think I just miscarried. I remember talking to her and asking how I was going to tell my husband I was pregnant for the first time, but that we lost the child before we ever got to meet him or her. That I had all these amazing things planned that I was going to do but couldn’t do anymore. In one second, it was all gone. It was all taken from us before we even got the chance to enjoy it.
Again, I asked God why? Why me? Why can’t we have this one thing? We have already lost so much.
On the day of our appointment to confirm the miscarriage, I sat in the room with my mother and husband as I waited for them to do the exam. I remember my husband trying to make me smile, and he kept poking holes into my paper gown.
The doctor entered, did the exam and indeed confirmed that we had lost our child. I remember looking at my husband and mom for comfort as tears gathered in my eyes. It was the first time during the process I felt like my husband registered what had just happened. Our baby was no longer ours. He or she was God’s now. We had a long drive after the appointment. As if things could not get any worse, we were t-boned by a vehicle at a red light. Our emotions were already everywhere and then we totaled my mother’s car. Luckily everyone came out of the accident okay. Let’s just say it was a day for the books.
So where am I at with my faith now? I still hurt and question God from time to time. I still struggle with my faith, but then I think about the faith that Chris had or about the fact that my grandfather had terminal cancer and still made the time to get on his knees every night to pray to God. If these men still believe and trust God then who Am I not to?
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering...” Hebrews 10:23 (KJV)
Sometimes faith is all we have in our hard times. We do not always have full understanding. We sure do not have all the answers, but if we keep the faith, at least we can go to bed with some peace. I wish I could save everyone from any pain that would resemble what we have gone through, but unfortunately, I cannot.
What I have learned from these hardships is to hold your loved ones tightly. Live every moment with your loved ones like it is your last day with them. Make sure the people you have in your circle are by you through it all. Lucky for us, we have had friends and family by our side through every bit of this.
Love with all your heart with no regrets because, like I said, life is too short.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12 (ESV)