Saturday, June 7, 2014

Passing Through

Tomorrow marks 3 years. 

The day after Mom and Dad’s 31st Anniversary.

3 years since my family received news that would change our lives and our dreams.  Maybe it’s because I have time to think today, on a day off, but I feel this day the last 2 years has come and gone.  But this year, I have time, or maybe space, to remember.

I want to remember that Skype call we received June 8th, 2011.  It was Philip, John-Michael, Candace and myself with my Mom and dear friend Rob on the other side.  She shared the heart stopping news with us and if there were ever a moment in my life of shock and time ceasing to move, it was that moment.  
Wait, my Dad has been given 6-12 months to live? My Dad. No. He has to meet my kids! He can’t die! Is this really happening?
Those were the majority of my thoughts in that moment. In the next, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Peace, Hannah girl. Peace.” And my mind slowed and I allowed the tears to come. Our dear friend Rob sang over us before we left and then, the four of us, alone in a small office, cried and held each other.
I tell people often that never in my life would I choose to have this in common with anyone. I would never even wish this on my fiercest enemy.
Grief is a lonely road. Very few choose to journey it with you. Since that day, 3 years ago, I have experienced the greatest loneliness, deep in my soul. I have had nights of sobs and days of pain. Although I will never say, “Okay, I’m better now,” I will say the intense pain and sorrow does get lighter…but never leaves. I would never choose for it to leave if it means I would stop having capacity to relate to the brokenhearted.  Jesus knew this pain and sorrow the best, and I desire with my whole soul to be like Him.
I wish I never had to say bye to my Dad. I wish I never had to experience this degree of pain and heartbreak. I wish a lot of things these last 3 years, but I am always, always reminded of what a friend spoke to me shortly after my Dad died. She reminded me of Psalm 23, one of my favourite Psalms.  She pointed out something I had never recognized before in the valley of the shadow of death…we must pass through.
Not long ago I found a video of my Dad shortly after he was diagnosed with stage 4,  inoperable, metastasized cancer.  He said, “Keep living!  Don’t stop because of the news we have received. Keep living life to the fullest!”  What a brave man.  Since then, I have faced other challenges in which I have felt pressured to stop or dwell on the hardship…but, I remember what my Dad said, and choose to keep living and moving forward.
I’m not sure if my Dad knew it when he said it, but when he told us to keep living and keep running the race, I think he also meant what Psalm 23 says, for us to pass through.  Do not get stuck or stop. Do not go around. But pass through.  I believe it is in the “passing through” that we have the opportunity to see Jesus in more of His glory. In our deepest pain, he never wants us to go around or ignore it, but to pass through.  
As I say over and over again, never would I have chosen this journey. However, it has been in this journey that I have seen Jesus blessing the poor in spirit and the brokenhearted…only this time it is me.