As many of you know, my wife Josephine left in mid-December. I still have no idea where she is or if she is alright. Since that time I have been struggling with depression and loneliness. My faith is strong and thanks to three groups of people, the Foothills Church of Christ here in Reno and the Tammany Oaks Church of Christ in Mandeville, LA - and my wonderful kids Sarah and Nathan - I KNOW I am loved.
The reason I am writing today, rather than being in a fetal position on my bed, is that I know there are others in the same pain.
For nineteen years I have stood side-by-side with Josephine. I helped her get her B.S. and MSW. Stood by her through various troubles that came our way. I have always been the supportive and loving husband I thought I could be. Then - Whoosh! - My entire life was uprooted and I was life feeling like the words of this song:
"Well is they say that love in in the air, never is it clear
How to pull it close and make it stay
If butterflies are free to fly, why do they fly away
Leavin' me to carry on and wonder why
Was it you that kept me wondering through this life
When you know that I was always on your side"
Yes, I spend a great deal of wondering why. All self justification aside, I still do not have an answer to that question. Intellectually, I know I will get through this, but it is the emotional side of me that is a train wreck. Mainly because I do not know where I am going or what I am supposed to do. All I have left is to throw myself at the feet of a compassionate God and ask for His grace in my time of need.
I wish there was some easy 1,2,3 formula to get through this but there isn't. (I will try one a bit later) Sometimes I think suffering is just that, suffering. Many of us are willing to concede that we have had enough, yet it keeps on coming. The words in that little picture are very true and not some pie-in-the-sky psychobabble. I am a stronger man because of the things I have faced in my life. In reality, I am thankful for every scar that is on my heart because each one shows a time I had to place my faith in the God of the universe. Yes, even He wants me to be whole.
In Psalm 34:17-20 Eugene Peterson translates it this way in The Message.
"Is anyone crying for help?
God is listening, ready to rescue you.
If your heart is broken,
you'll find God right there;
if you're kicked in the gut,
he'll help you catch your breath.
Disciples so often get in trouble;
still, God is there every time.
He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken."
For a person who does not share my faith - those words are nonsense. To me they are a promise from a Father that always keeps His promises. No matter how bad this whole thing gets, I know He is There and Not Silent.
Since I am still in the midst of this cyclone all I can do is give some advice. It may change after I either land in Kansas or Oz, but here goes:
- Cling to your faith.
- Find a loving body of fellow believers. (This can be tricky. Make sure they understand that we all suffer and want to help you. Avoid legalistic and judgmental people - they always want to assign blame).
- Get out of the house.
- Cling to your faith.
Let's see how this goes as I continue my journey. Below is wonderful song be Johnny Cash that ,might help.