I’m not sure if it was the AARP cards that arrived in the mail, my son’s upcoming graduation or my ever-aging hormones, but I’m struggling. Struggling with some relational loses, my nest emptying and not knowing what’s next for me in this next season of life.
I remember when my youngest child started kindergarten. I cried for two weeks. I cried when Hannah started high-school and when she left for college. I’ve been crying on and off all year knowing Casey will be leaving soon, too. The minute Casey leaves, Faithe will have his car and be far, far away from her Smother. As much as I understand these are inevitable changes,
I’m in a funk.
Although no one has died, I’m not sick and from all outward appearances, my life is good (and it is), I’m not. Sometimes our reality is our reality and we can’t wish or rationalize hurt away. If it were that easy, I’d be out burning my AARP card or something else fun and productive.
Instead, for the past twenty-four hours I’ve cried, journaled and binge watched Gilmore Girls. I texted a friend, talked to my husband and taken a lot of Advil. I haven’t dealt with these kinds of emotions for longer than I can remember, and I just want them to go away.
It occurred to me while working out and praying this morning, that in my funk, I’d failed to do that which I’ve taught my kids, the women I speak to and I believe should be our default. Not only had I failed to pray and read my Bible in my pain, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. When I reflected on why that was, I realized it was because I want a quick fix to the putridness. I want the ache to leave.
But today I realized I have to, once again, cling to my cactus. Clinging to our cactus is the intentional act of sitting with our pain and talking to God about it. It’s not wishing for the pain to leave and for a quick solution. It’s choosing to remain in the uncomfortable space until God speaks, teaches or moves.
What’s the point, advantage and benefit of clinging to what hurts? When I text friends, talk to my husband or Loralei Gilmore about my problems, the advice is well-intended and nominally helpful, but people, even our closest people, don’t know our hearts. The advantage of waiting on God in our suffering, is His answers are intimate. Personal. Specific. His solutions meet me in exactly the way I need (even though He’s usually incredibly slow in delivering those answers).
If you need me, I’ll be with my cactus. I don’t need sympathy, essential oils or a well-intended Scripture verse, but I will take your prayers. And I’ll be okay. For the first time in a while, I believe that to be true.