When my mom first passed, my comforters were many. Old friends that I haven’t spoken to in years went out of their way to express their condolences and to offer their services or a listening ear if needed. Those closest to me were extravagant in showing care and concern, and offering up grace where it was desperately needed.
Since that initial outpouring, I have felt tremendously alone. In a real sense, I am alone. No one can truly walk this journey with me, and relatively few try.
I cannot blame them. I have learned a great truth: most people can only handle a cup of other people’s tear soup.
It is not in our nature to linger in the dark and uncertain places, especially when we do not have to. Even those of us who find ourselves there and sense that it is indeed our rightful place at that time seek desperately for a way out, or for anything that will light the way, even if that thing be false.
But, “where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new?” *
Right now, I am a mess. A holy mess.
Something is being birthed inside of me that will be purer and more true than anything I’ve known so far. A version of myself that is closer to God’s vision for me than the life to which I am tempted to cling.
Birthing takes a predetermined amount of time. As this child grows inside of me, I can do nothing to hurry its arrival or to speed up its process. Someone may later write a book, 7 Days to a Healthy Child, but it will not make it true.
Birthing takes time.
I think back to the first woman to give birth and wonder if God told her how long her pregnancy would last. We have the advantage of knowing approximately when the end will come, but I wonder how Eve felt. What were her emotions like, watching her belly grow? Did she think 3 months would do it? 6? As Cain didn’t come, did she think something was wrong? Did she wish for something, anything, that would make that baby come out faster?
Eve learned what we know, but often fight: growing a healthy life takes time.
No matter what I or others may say or wish or want, the process cannot be rushed. It may not be hurried and it will not acquiesce to our demands of instant-fixes and quick progress. I cannot skip the painful or ugly parts, nor should I try to conceal them from view.
But when the waiting is finally over – when the life is finally born – it will be completely new and “other” than any life that exists now. It will be something special and unique, and the wonder and grandeur of it will make the waiting, however long and painful, worthwhile.
* Quote from When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd