Ecclesiastes 3: 1There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
3 a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
6 a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
8 a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
It has been a while. I went back to school. It has been crazy busy. Sometimes, life makes you slow down, and have Thoughts again.
My community, my church family, and my family have been going through a season of loss. I hadn't strung it all together until I was taking my good friend to the airport 4 hours away to fly out to be with her brother who lost his oldest daughter in a car crash this weekend. On the same day as the car crash, my cousin, who recently married another very dear friend of mine, died suddenly, without warning. As we drove to the airport, and my friend and I were talking, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
It is a Season of Sorrow and Loss
It started out trivially enough, in the grand scheme of things. In the last few months, there has been an almost complete teacher turnover at the school we moved states for so that my kids could attend there. We could have stayed in Wyoming, and done the sports school, or the tech school, or the big school, or or or, but this school had a couple of stellar teachers that I have been really excited to have the kids learn from. One teacher, in particular, and the school's overall "feel" and philosophy drew us, and there were two other absolute gems hidden there. I work in the school system, and have been in and around education my whole life, and these were (still are, in their new schools), amazing teachers. The philosophy and atmosphere at the school is completely turned over with new admin, and the teachers all left. It is a time of HUGE uncertainty in my home, since last April/Mayish. I know I am going to let the oldest graduate here, but then what? Do we move home? Is this God's opportunity for that?
At that same time, the snowball started.
Broken faith with someone I would have called a good friend, someone I went out on a limb to take a risk with and trusted.
I took a huge financial hit that left us reeling.
Altered relationships between my kids and their dad, and his ongoing shenanigans intensified.
A couple of suicides rocked our community.
A kid I care about got into what could have been serious trouble.
There have been several young kids in serious accidents or hurt.
An old friend who is refusing to answer calls, messages or texts, and I have no idea why.
A flood tore through our town, the businesses, and homes. In my family, three aunts lost everything. I really mean everything. One aunt and uncle were very close to succumbing to hypothermia when they were finally rescued off of their bathroom counter. Our church building was destroyed. The way our town sits, no one was able to get flood insurance, so for almost everyone, the loss was a total loss that cannot be recouped by insurance. The community rallied initially, but there are huge rifts developing over different aspects of the recovery efforts.
On top of all that, my dog got into trouble, and where I live it is an actual misdemeanor. I am shaking with worry every day while I wait to go to court. I am the original goody two shoes, and have not had any kind of brush with "the law" in my life. Added to that all, I live next door to the owners of the other dog. The old fear of an angry man rears its irrational head and paralyzes me, and I am reduced to stuttering and quaking inside and the drive to get out of the way and be invisible and it is all I can do to pretend that everything is normal. I feel like an utter idiot, but for the life of me, my heart still races and my throat closes up. I am waiting for that to stop. I have no idea what the fine will be, or where I will come up with another "detour" in my budget to cover it.
I am struggling with the War for Independence that is going on with three growing teenage boys.
I am looking at a third job to make ends meet since no enforcement agency has been able to find the ex and make him pay child support, and after two years, I can't keep it together anymore.
There are more in the list of losses, but I will stop there...
And then, this weekend, still shaken from hearing about my dear friend's niece's death, and torn with hurting for her overwhelming pain, we get the call that my cousin died. He is my cousin, but I knew him only as an adult, and only in the last several years, so he was more like a friend. He ended up dating a very close friend of mine, and they got married. They only had a couple of years together. So this tears in several ways. I am broken for my family, who lost their son/nephew/grandson/cousin. I am heartstruck for my friend who lost her husband. I am grieving with my church, who lost not only a fellow worshipper, but a really, really good man. And I can't make it better for anyone.
There is a season of loss, here. I know they come, and I don't mean to whine, but to chronicle. I can't seem to find energy for anything. I just want to read, or sew, or sleep. I can't focus, can't make a decision, and I have to force myself to leave the house. I cringe every time the phone makes a sound. As we started to talk through what the struggles of the last several months have been, it all made sense. Of course I feel that way. There has been so much pain, heartache and stress. And as we are told to, we mourn with those who mourn. There has been a whole lot of mourning going on.
Job says "though He slay me, I will trust in Him". I keep repeating to myself, when I don't understand His hand, I can trust His heart. There is good news here. It is a season. It doesn't last forever. It has a beginning and an end, and the time for laughing, for rejoicing, for joy will come. So we are fixing our eyes on praising God through all things, that sacrifice of praise we used to sing about at church a thousand years ago when I was young. We will look for Him, for how He will "work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose". I don't know most days what MY plan is, let alone what God's plan is, and other than that we live in a sin-corrupted world waiting to be redeemed and reborn, why these things happen. I just know that if for no other reason than He is God, and therefore worthy - regardless of what is happening in my tiny little part of the world- I will praise Him, and look to how He will use what has happened for good.
Right now, it is hot, hot, hot. Energy sapping, will-to-live draining hot. Of course, we don't have AC (or, apparently, insulation), and can't afford the little mobile units. There are times when I really think I can't get any more uncomfortable, or bear it one more minute. But every so often, a wind will blow, and it becomes bearable again. The nights cool off, and we can rest and gather ourselves for tomorrow. And I KNOW that fall is coming, and the season will change. Life feels like that, right now. It is uncomfortable, and unavoidable, and the loss and hurt and confusion just kind of clings like a tshirt full of back-sweat. But this season will end, and God will start a new thing.
Thank God for the refining, and for the end to this season of Sorrow and Loss that is coming.
Psalm 30:5 ... weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Let the morning come quickly.