Monday, January 4, 2010

Questions Of The Heart

( This entry is not a very positive way to start out the new year and my new blog. But this has weighed heavy on my mind and I have found some comfort in writing about it. I am sure you have all experienced something similar. )

Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery. --- F. Alexander Magoun

Most people think of their heart as a little valentine. But I see my heart differently. To me, it's a house. It's a place of a hundred doors and a hundred rooms, each one opening to a memory or a thought - or even a dream.
I keep my dreams in the attic. Aloft like the stars, floating like un-tethered kites that drift about until I grasp them by the tail and pull them into reality.
The main floor has rooms of faces and places that make up my day.
One room is my husband. It's warm in there. And sweet. And full of gentle kisses.
Another room is my children. Echoing with laughter and quilted with apron strings. Bursting with pride. Soft with memories.
Then there's a room with my grandchildren. It's bright and airy and playful there. And imagination reigns.
At the end of the hall, other doors lead to lost parents and siblings and friends. Those rooms smell of tears and fresh roses and fading time.

But for awhile now, there's been a secret room in my basement. I try to keep it closed, but sometimes I can't. Sometimes the wind blows hard and forces it open. Other times I peek inside on purpose. But each time it unlocks, my house floods with tears.


Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I try not to talk about it- or even think about it- and I realize now that has been the problem. I've bottled it up to where it hurts- squeezes me into a strange pain. Haunts me in ways no one can understand.
Last June my daughter's boyfriend committed suicide. It's bad enough that he is gone- but to go like that- is unimaginable-horrific-and troubling. Every single day I ask myself why. And every single day, I make up answers. He was sick. He was sad. He was lost. He was weak. He felt hopeless. He felt unloved. He felt tortured. But no answer ever fits. No excuse ever warrants the fact that he is now gone from this earth forever.

"  You could be happy and I won't know 
But you weren't happy the day I watched you go 
And all the things that I wish I had not said 
Are played in loops til it's madness in my head" 
                                   Snow Patrol lyrics: You Could Be Happy

I probably only saw him a half dozen times, but I was always friendly and tried to make him feel welcome. But I really didn't go out of my way.  I don't regret anything I said to him, but, yet, the things I didn't say. The smiles I didn't give. The reassuring laugh. The invitation to dinner. The compliment on his new shirt or hat. The unspoken halo of acceptance that  could have pulled him into our family circle.

"  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."        - Leo Buscaglia

For months I made up wild, fantastical, unrealistic games to bring him back. If I would do ten more sit ups, I could stop him. If I would quit eating for a week, I could grab his hand and pull him back. If I would walk a mile, I could find him and change his mind. If I would lose twenty pounds, I could turn back time. If I would wake up, I'd see it was only a dream.
But after torturing myself, I realized that it did no good to wish away the truth. There was no way to change what had already been done.
And then the spiritual aspect began to trouble me more profoundly. Where did he go?
"  There is no death. The stars go down
    To rise upon another shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
   They shine forevermore."
                (By John McCreery)


It's just not the same as when my grandparents or parents or sister died. I was certain that they would go to heaven. But I had always been taught that if you take your own life, you do not.  
Is this why I cannot shake this grief? I did not even really know this young man, but the whole aspect of his death will not leave my head. I feel that I cannot rest until I know he is in a better place. But, I will never know- so it is a vicious circle. Like a tornado that twists up from the basement of my heart and damages my life. 
I realize that I'm spending too much time in the basement. I need to be upstairs laughing and planning and breathing fresh air. I must focus on the beautiful things in my life and be forever grateful for God's grace.

This new year is about changes and I must let my faith cross this bridge before I drown. I must believe that God has a plan and all I can do is pray. Sounds simple enough, but it is difficult. How do you ask God for something you are not sure is His will?
I received a Bible for Christmas that will lead me through the scriptures in a year. I am hoping that this knowledge will be a comfort and a lesson. I am praying that I can leave this incident in God's hands and close that basement door forever.

" ...That the hour of our death is appointed by Jesus. We are laid asleep by Him. Just as the mother knows the best hour to lay her little one in its couch or cradle; undresses it, composes it to rest, sings its lullaby, and the cherub face, lately all smiles, is now locked in quiet repose. So Christ comes to His people at His own selected season, and says, 'Your hour of rest has arrived. I am to take off the garments of mortality. Come! I will robe you in the vestments of the tomb.' He smooths the narrow bed, composes the pillow, and sings His own lullaby of love, 'Fear not, my child, for I am with you, sleep on now and take your rest!'"

We all have those rooms in our heart that no one ever sees- places in our minds that we don't talk about. But there will always be those shadowy questions that lay upon us in our moments of quiet and contemplation. It is those times that we must find our true faith and hush those ghosts. We must accept those things we cannot change. We must bring our grief up from the basement and let it flow into our lives. It will eventually seep through the cracks, push open the windows, and find a way out the back door.

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. " ~Thornton Wilder