Have you ever had a week that seemed to be defined by the emotions around you? That’s what this past week was.
Last Sunday morning, I awoke thinking it would be a week full of bittersweet moments. The week was to start off with an impromptu picnic with some church friends. Our town has an annual parade celebrating the beginning of summer, and my house is only a few blocks from the parade route. In fact, the street right outside our house, including the space where my husband normally parks his truck, is part of the parade staging area. A family from church was planning to attend the parade, so we invited them to join us for lunch before walking to view the Rose Parade. It was a great afternoon, and something that I thought would be a good way of bracing myself for what was coming. After all, in the coming days I would have to attend two functions at the elementary school that would be “lasts” for my 5th grader—his last student of the month celebration and his last music concert. I was prepared for those emotions, for the pride of seeing the wonderful, intelligent young man he has become, mixed with the sadness of knowing the little preschooler I sent off to Hunt in the fall of 2007 would be entering middle school in just a few short months. Oh, where has that time gone?
And what mother would not be choked up at hearing her son introduce his classmates rendition of Disney’s A Whole New World by saying something along the lines of, “We are looking forward to the whole new world that is opening up to us as we prepare to enter middle school in the fall”?
Those bittersweet emotions associated with celebrating my middle son’s last moments of elementary school, as well as all of the other “normal” end of the year emotions and celebrations with his brothers…those are what I expected this last week to be filled with. What I didn’t expect was the deep sadness of loss that washed over me in waves.
Lost hope, lost life, lost love. It hit me more than once during the past seven days. I can’t be more specific than that, because in no case was the loss specifically mine. Not my loss means it’s not my news to share. But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect me at all. It’s left my head spinning and my heart broken. There’s an old Carman song from the late 1980’s or early 1990’s that contained the line, “It’s as if you’re sitting there in that stunned moment while your faith gets violated and all you feel is weak, powerless and lame.” That is kind of how I have felt. Not so much that my faith has been violated, though I will admit that one of these sad events did have me turning to God and asking, “Why is this happening? Why are You allowing this?” I questioned not really God’s goodness or His existence this week; rather I questioned His methods.
But “weak, powerless and lame.” That is a pretty apt description. As I have felt sadness sweep over me, I’ve thought about those more directly affected by these events. I’ve wanted—more than once—to gather my hurting friends and family in arms, to shelter them from the pain, to put all the pieces back together for them, to make the things that feel so wrong right again.
But I can’t.
I can’t fix this. Some of this can’t be fixed, not by me. Some can’t be fixed by human means at all. Even the parts that can be fixed by human hands require God’s intervention first.
God, You the situations and the people who are on my heart. Be with them all. Give them Your strength and peace. Even those who are acting strong now are hurting. Show them that You understand, that You are there, and that You love them all, even—maybe especially—in the midst of this storm. Don’t let them lose sight of You. If they have already been blown off course, Lord, help them find a beacon back to You. It is only in Your arms, in Your presence that they will find true healing and peace, no matter how their situations play out.