1/23/17

{smile thinly and say you're fine when you're not}

"who doesn't know what it's like to smile thinly and say you're fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain? there isn't one of us not bearing the wounds from our own bloody battles." 
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}


"amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  i once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now i see"
...
keep singing, just keep singing, i try to tell myself, and myself argues back, but this is "amazing grace, my chains are gone". this is rickey's funeral song. i can't, i can't keep singing, but the song won't stop.
...
"'twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. how precious did that grace appear, the hour i first believed"
...
ok then, i tell myself, don't sing, breathe. just breathe. in, out, in again. that's it, you've got this. just breathe.
...
"my chains are gone, i've been set free"
...
oh, yes, that's why we sang this ... all rickey's chains were set free, he's more alive in heaven than ever on earth. it's good, it's all good, right?
...
"my God, my Savior has ransomed me"
...
keep breathing, focus, focus ... focus!
...
"and like a flood, your mercy reigns"
...
can i escape? 
where can i go, can i slip out unnoticed? 
i need to run, i have to get out of here!
i can't.
i'm stuck.
breathe in, breathe out, breathe in again. 
focus, 
don't pass out, 
don't let them see you, 
"smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
"unending love, amazing grace"
...
wait, what's that? what's dripping off my chin? where did that come from? it's a tear, but i don't even "feel" like i'm crying.  what in the world there's another one, and another, they are coming unbidden and I.CAN'T.STOP.THEM!
...
i can't really hear the song anymore. i'm sweating. the room is spinning. what is going on? help me, somebody, help me!
...
 wipe them away, quick, before anyone sees. now you really can't escape. teary eyed and gasping for breath. breathe. focus. breathe. focus. the song is almost done, you can do this.
...
"but God who called me here below, will be forever mine. you are forever mine. you are forever mine, you are forever mine"
...
ok, the song is over. sit down, keep wiping the tears. nobody noticed. you're safe.
...
"i don't know the way to put all these broken pieces back into place...old scars can break open like fresh wounds and your unspoken broken can start to rip you wide open and maybe the essence of all the questions is: how in the holy name of God do you live with your one broken heart?"
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
i need to interject here that since the day rickey died, 5 years, 2 months and 18 days ago,
 i.haven't.cried. 
ok, yes, i've cried, 
i don't mean that, 
but i mean i.haven't.cried. 
...
shortly into our marriage, my dear sweet rick asked me a very pointed question.
he said
"when are you going to grieve"?
i got mad at him and walked away.
...
that is a loaded question.
when am i going to grieve?
when do i not grieve?
how do i grieve?
and ... most importantly ... do i have permission to grieve?
...
"smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
how in the world did ann voskamp get into my brain?
...
i almost did it that sunday.
i "almost" grieved.
in church.
in a church full of people, where i felt utterly alone.
while we sang "rickey's funeral song".
5 years, 2 months and 10 days after he died.
...
after the song i texted one of my few safe people a simple but profound text,
"where are you"
{of course, i didn't add the whole story ... i'm looking around the congregation and i can't see you, where are you? if you are here, maybe, just maybe today is my day to grieve. maybe, just maybe, i'll let it out and i'll cry {finally} until there are no tears left}
...
"i'm working today, what's up"
...
and i "smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain." {"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1} and respond "nothing, i'm at church and you're not"
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breathe in. breathe out. breathe again again. you can do this, let them think you are fine.
...
"this is the deal we all get: guaranteed suffering. we all get it. it is coming, unstoppable, like time. there are graves coming, there is dark coming, there is heartbreak coming. we are not in control, and we never were. one moment you're picking up balls of crusty dirty socks strewn across the bedroom floor, and the next moment you're picking up the pieces of your one shattered life."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
"unspoken broken"
...
we all live with our own "unspoken broken"
...
God has been good to me. He has seen me through. i know the love of {another} good man. life is good. but there is still "unspoken broken". there is still grief to be felt and grieving to be done.
...
over my sweet first born's wedding weekend, i had a good chat with her big brother. afterwards i told him that he mended a piece of my heart that evening, that sweet, big man-boy who reminds me so much of his daddy in some ways that at times it hurts.
...
"unspoken broken" 
...
you'd think i'd learn. you'd think i'd let go of the stubborn, dig your heels in, grin and bear it old me, but, i don't. i continue to "smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1} 
...
it took me a week to tell anyone about the episode at church. to bare my soul enough to even share what happened that day {what really did happen, i'm still not sure myself}. on the way home from church yesterday, i told rick the "amazing grace, my chains are gone" story. he smiled, and nodded, and understood. that's all, he understood. and for that moment, on that day, that was enough.
...
someday i'll grieve. someday, i'll cry all those tears that need to be cried. but, until then, I'll
"smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1} 





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if you have followed my blog at all you know that my heart has always been to share God's grace in the midst of human tragedy ... or wh...