I've been reflecting on pain and loss. How it changes us. When Olivia first got cancer I remember thinking that I would really like to help other people who face the same trial. Now it has been over 10 years since she was first diagnosed and I haven't done anything to help others in the same situation. I remember when I found out with Olivia and Gea that they would not live for long that I wanted to keep them alive in my life as long as possible. Maybe I would visit the cemetery or somehow build a permanent memory of them that was tangible in my life. They have both been gone for over 7 years and again I have done nothing, nor have I wanted to.
We can try and predict how pain and loss will change us but, the truth is it is unpredictable. Who we are after the loss is not someone we could know before. We may try and mold that grieved person into what we think they should be yet never be able to commit to the idea. I wanted to be someone who used my experience to help others. To reach out to others. Now I find that I keep those memories and pains safe and secure in my heart, far away from others. Not because I want to deny others, only because I don't want to dig up the pain that comes with loss.
The pain never really does go away. Whenever I speak to others I always want to tell them that it does but, that would be a lie. The pain really doesn't even get better it just gets to be less abrasive. It somehow becomes a part of us and we learn to move on in life with it. Pain and loss become us. As life progress's the pain becomes less audible by others and maybe even us. We are never the same as before.
Some days I am thankful for the changed person that I am from the pain I have endured. I will never take my children's health for granted, I love my man each day because I know what trials he is willing to walk through with me, I don't worry about the small things in life and I don't fear death. I am not sure I would know the peace I do in this life if I hadn't lost two great loves in my life. My joy is probably more complete because I have always been in a position that requires me to lean on God.
For a long time I felt guilty that I didn't go out of my way to fund raise for cancer or to help others. Now I know that the timeline I am walking isn't of the world. While others are comforted to openly share I am comforted by quiet contemplation and alone. My heart still breaks to hear of others who face the same circumstances, maybe that is why I avoid those stories.
Sometimes we just are what we are. As tempting as it is to self improve and to do what we think is right, the end result is we are only able to understand so much on our own. I do believe if we, "trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; acknowledge Him in all your ways and he will make your paths straight" Pr 3:5-6. After 10 years of trying to trust God I can say he does make our paths straight. Where I thought the path should be I was so often wrong. But, when I trusted and followed and just let the feelings, emotions and days be what they were God has so faithfully meet me there. Time does not heal all wounds, but God does give us a way to go on. Time does not take away the memories or loss, but, we do live outside of the loss and have joy in the moments that God provides.
Today as I am heart broken over other losses those around me suffer, I can also say I feel peace and joy. I trust as those around me walk the path the Lord has destined for them they too will come to a place of rest and comfort from their pain. I feel such a great hope in that we get to be in heaven with those we have lost and it will be glorious. The sad memories and pain we suffer now will be so pale and small! I pray that hope gives those who have lost a bit of fight and strength to call out to God and lean on him.