Thankful

It has been a while since I felt compelled to write something here… to put down on paper- or electronic bits, something rattling around in my head. I’ve been on vacation. I’ve been distracted. School is starting. And the art gallery has a new start with a new couple at the helm… so this little nagging fragment of an argument in my head is of little real importance, and it should really be dropped… but here it is.

Today, before I start my rant, I have to apologize to my church family. The lifequest family that has sustained me and helped hold me together and who has been in my life during the last three year the voice and hand and feet of God. Truly, God is good and this cloud of saints is my best proof.  So someone pointed out that one of my juvenile rants was blaming members of my church family for some insult- which is what that fragment of an argument really is about… it was a pair of Christians trying to fix me. People who knew me some time ago, but who haven’t been close or near in at least a decade… and really have earned no rights to speak correction into my life.

And so here goes the rant… much of which has been rattling around for two weeks.

After thinking for a while, the reason for this correction must be the desire of these two men… who for expedience we can call Mark and Tim… must be to have some sort of deeper relationship. You don’t try to save people you don’t love. You don’t fix people that you don’t want a committed and deeper friendship with. And for that I should be thankful. I am blessed to have people that will step in and correct me when I am wrong. People who will find me when I am lost… who will hold me through the darkest nights and will pull me from the fire if needed.

I know this. I am grateful for the handful of my church family that has done this… as well as my blood relatives and neighbors and co workers who have exhibited what is nothing less than life saving kindness. Adding two more to this crowd of heroes can’t be a bad thing, ever. I have been held together and fed and walked through three years that I could not have survived without these men and women.

Because three years ago, my son, Ethan took his life. I don’t know why. But I do know that I can’t fix it. And before you try to fix it there are things that you might understand about such a loss and things you don’t… and since everyone is a bit different, what you may think may not apply to me. It was devastating. Life changing, heart breaking, soul crushing devastation. And it still is. I might look okay and I might be doing okay, but I am largely still broken inside.

And no, I won’t get over it. And it isn’t about guilt or shame or anger. It is about grief. At it’s most basic this is about the permanent pain of loss. And as comforting as knowing that someday we will meet in heaven sounds… it still means that I get to live the rest of my earthly life in loss. Words may or may not help. But words will never fix this.

So you have to know that when you volunteer to fix me, to rescue me… to be part of that team you need to know what you are signing on to. My life fell apart. And I hurt. Sometimes I don’t want to go on. And that really does mean that this can’t be about you.

I’m broken. I can’t feed your ego. I can’t help you. I can’t give you the gratitude or encouragement you may need. You will have to face my darkest thoughts. You will have to deal with my anger and my sorrow. You will have to hear the words I cannot say over the words that I should not have said. You will have to hold me when I don’t wan’t to be held. And speak the truth in love when it is hard.

You will have to see behind my mask and share a bit of this pain. You will have to be there and expect nothing in return. You can’t hang up. You have to deal with my moods, with my conduct… with the fact that I am acting like a child… because that is where I am. You can’t “un-friend” me and sometimes you can’t win the argument. You have to prove to me that God is good and God is love. And that today is worth living.

And you still have to be compassionate and loving and supportive. You have to correct me. You have to keep me safe. You have to keep me alive. Because we are talking life and death.

You need to be available to hang out. Eat lunch. Listen. You need to listen. You need to take that phone call at 2 AM, because this time I am at the end of my rope. You may even have to climb a mountain. And you can’t give excuses, or reasons, or simply quote a list of bible verses. And we can remember Ethan together.

So thank you Tim and Mark for wanting to join this crowd…

And I thank God for some people… for my mother, my brother and all of my sisters, and my Lifequest family, and old Wilson friends and co-workers that have done this. I’m not listing everyone… but thanks. For Mike and Kathy (both sets). For Iz and Jessica. For Cameron and Faith. Tim and Robin. For Sesshu, Naomi, Hannah, Emmy, Olympia, and Carmen. For the Slover crew. For the Mountain Compassionate Friends and my Sleeper team.

I am here because of your love and kindness.

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