I am rarely at a loss for words. Yet, today I am struggling.
This was not an easy week here, for reasons that are valid and important. Yet, they will keep. Sometimes it’s not about Cowden’s Syndrome. Sometimes it’s not about our struggles.
This is one of those times.
I messaged with a dear friend all day yesterday as she evacuated her beautiful home in Florida and drove up the coast to her parent’s home in New York. That decision came for them after a week of sleeplessness and worry. After a week of waiting and wondering. It came when Hurricane Irma took a west turn and it was just too dangerous to stay.
And I thought about her all day, even when we weren’t messaging. We have plenty in common, and I thought about the drive, with her husband, and their daughter, and their dog. There was not much I could say.
There are no words of reassurance when your home is in the path of a category 4 or 5 hurricane. And while she gets the big picture, and understands and is grateful for her safety, I can not fault her one bit for worrying, with a sense of terror and dread, about her home.
Because the truth is, things do matter. I am not talking about things with a price tag. I am talking about sentimental things. Even the simple comfort of sitting in your own home – matters. I will not be one to pass out trite phrases, that I would not want to hear myself. I’d rather tell the truth. I have no words…
It was just last week that I sought out a flood relief organization in Houston to make a donation to. So much loss. So much devastation.
There are so many. Those we know, and those we don’t – who are just like us. They are us.
It reminded me of a beautiful Tuesday 16 years ago when I had the same feelings of despair.
I sat down this morning to try to find the class picture from the second grade class that was mine on September 11, 2001. It’s one of the few I don’t have. But, I remember.
I remember their faces, and many of their names. I remember the phone calls that morning, and the day that slowly unfolded into weeks and months and years of gut wrenching heartache. I remember thinking that day that those young children – many of them 6 or 7 – would have no idea how much their world had just changed forever.
I thought about them today. Wondering how 16 years later, their lives have begun to unfold. Wondering if they remember being picked up early from school by a frantic relative or friend. Wondering how the events changed their lives.
I woke up suddenly at 1:30 this morning. I instinctively checked Facebook to find my friend had just made it safely to her destination. She has seen unspeakable tragedy in her life, yet she lives in gratitude, and with a conscious focus on paying it forward. I don’t get it.
I tossed and turned with my perspective for a few hours. I thought about something I always am aware of. We are all just 2 steps away from someone else’s worst nightmare. Be kind always. Not because you may need it repaid one day, but because it is the right thing to do.
I woke this morning with my heart heavy. We’ve struggled as a family to find our way into a home church these last few years. I walked myself down to the closest one I have. I sat down to the Mercy Me song “Even If”
And I cried.
Quietly, in the back of that church the tears flowed.
The reality is, right this minute it is not “well with my soul.” My soul is struggling. Even as I don’t doubt the existence of God – I wrestle to comprehend what is not mine to understand.
And even later in the service as we sang the hymns “How Great Thou Art,” and “It is Well with My Soul” and I could clearly hear the voice of my deceased grandfather belting out these beloved hymns – ones that he lived with his whole self… I still struggled.
The Pastor did an excellent job on Psalm 42 and “Hope for Our Souls.”
I was glad I went.
But, my heart hurts.
Tomorrow is 9/11/2017. 16 years from the worst tragedy we have known in my lifetime.
Tomorrow Florida will survey the damage in the sun. Friends and family will check in. Shortly after, they will begin the process of rebuilding wherever, and whatever is necessary.
Tomorrow I will wear red, white and blue. Tomorrow I will be proud to be an American. I will be united with all those that are facing trying times that I can not fathom.
Tomorrow I will seek ways that I can help, whether it’s placing pencils in a box for school supplies, or sending a financial donation to a front line charity.
We have every single day of our lives to spend
This is not at all about us. This is about those who could be us, and those who are just like us.
I will continue to pray for the strength to be able to say “It is well with my soul…”