Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Letting the Battlescars Refine Instead of Define

One of my goals with this blog has been to give a safe place for people in painful places. I wanted folks to know they aren't alone, that someone gets it, that there is life in and beyond the desert. Except in the writing in the emotion of the moment and wanting to reach those that others might not reach, I have committed the heinous act of leaving out the life part.

One of the things I've said since this part of my life journey started about two years ago is I expected God to create life in the void.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, He speaks to the spiritual and the natural.

In the beginning, He speaks to a void...a nothing...and makes something wondrous.

I have said from the beginning that no matter how big the hole got--and wow!, did it get big--He would create something in it. There would be life that came out of the void. He created an entire universe in a void. He could rebuild--recreate or even create all new--in us and for us.

He has not failed us in anyway.

Life does not look like I had thought or hoped. Yesterday I sat in my truck with tears rolling down my face as I grieved another piece of lost dreams, and I talked to Him and told Him it was discouraging to think we had reached the other side only to find out we were still in the desert. Very clearly, He spoke beautiful words to me:

"Jerri, the other side when 'all this is over' will not--CANNOT--look like it did when it started."

I thought I understood that, but in that instant, I realized I didn't understand the depth of it.

I had some idea that we would go back to a wholeness we had then, some semblance of life being what it was, feeling like it felt, returning to "normal", but we can't.

The normal that existed then is gone. Part of us is gone.

Rob is gone. My friend, my life companion for 23 years, gone. My children's dad is gone. My hopes for that marriage are gone.

We cannot be who we were then. Our hearts will not be as...pristine...as they were then. The loss has left holes and scars and pain. We can live with that, and we can flourish anyway. However, it will not be what it used to be. This home will never feel quite like it did when Rob's laughter bounced off the walls. Christmas is still going to have shadows of traditions we had with my parents and Rob that we cannot do any longer because they were specific to the people. It will never be exactly what it was, and while we can do those things and enjoy those holidays and laugh anyway, it is not--CANNOT--be what it was.

However, that does not mean it cannot be wonderful.

It simply means it will be different.

We have spent much of the last two years getting accustomed to the different things, and we have done well. However, there are aspects of life we have avoided because it feels like embracing those is letting go of the precious things we've lost. The truth is, though, the things of the past are already gone. The memories are there, but tangible things are gone. Embracing something new will not make them more gone or less precious. It only means we are embracing the reality of change, of what is not, what cannot be...and what can.

If you had asked me if I was holding on to the the past I would have told you no. I would have told you we are moving on and embracing possibility and life. I didn't realize the subtle ways I was trying to recreate the peace and lack of pain, which is really what it is about, we enjoyed before.

Recently, I saw a picture of  Marine SGT Jason Pacheco, who trains scout snipers. In the picture he is sitting on the ground demonstrating how to accurately set and fire the rife in front of him. If you look closely, you realize one of the boots you see is being used to stabilize the stand for his weapon...and the Marine only has one leg.

I will not pretend to be in the same class of character or determination as that Marine, but as I have written this and prayed for a clear picture of the Truth I am trying to share, I thought of that him.

He will never be the same. His life will never be the same. He can still do a lot of the same things he did, maybe even all of them, but he will always carry the battle scar of his lost leg. And maybe sometimes he grieves that loss. Maybe sometimes he wonders, "What if...?" Maybe he grieves what could have been.

I don't know his maybes. What I know is he has chosen to embrace life beyond the loss of his leg.

He has chosen not to let the battle scare define him,

only refine him.

He has not settled in to the void of what used to be.

On the contrary,

he has chosen to allow the loss of what used to be

push him to see who he can be.

We have chosen to embrace our life beyond our loss, too. Yes, we are still in the refining progress. We are still learning where we mistakenly think "rebuilding" means trying to reclaim what was...what no longer is or can be. We are not trying to avoid the battlescars or pretend they don't ache.

Instead, we are embracing them,
not letting them define us, but allowing them to refine us,
embracing life beyond the void,
the stuff God is doing that has never been done before,
stuff we didn't--couldn't--imagine.
Only we are imagining.
We are living.
He is creating,
and it is wondrous.


Jason said...

Wow...that is one inspiring Marine. I'm glad there's guys like him out there defending us.

sharilyn said...

beautifully said.

when my life was torn completely apart, and i thought i would never find life again, i remember saying --i just want things to go back to normal.

and my dear counselor and friend said, 'that normal no longer exists.' and i was devastated.

and, over the past 10 years of trying to recover, walk through the healing, find new life-- find a new normal-- there are new shoots of life in many places. it doesn't always fill the void. and it doesn't always feel full or satisfying or "as good as" what i lost... but i know, in the midst of it, God has been before me, behind me, and beside me... and He will continue to grow those new green sprouts of life... and if i accept it as from His hand, i can learn to live with the loss and celebrate the life.

(preaching to myself here , i think!) love to you!

Katie @ Imperfect People said...

This is good stuff Jerri I love your heart!