So many years ago my journey to this moment started with a stupid dream. It was January 2013. Six years later I am divorced, still single, broke, lonely and fat. I don’t say those things to elicit sympathy. I state them as basic facts.
While I currently feel stagnant and unable to get out of the sticky, sucking mud, it’s not a new feeling for me. I’ve been here before, and the painful truth of life is that once I release myself from the grasp of the muck, I will eventually land in another puddle, just like this one, again.
Ebbs and flows. The circle of life. Ups and downs.
Call it what you will, it affects me time and time again. Like the old adage, “the only constant in life is change.” Sometimes change comes at a rapid pace and at others it slows down and I find myself drift at sea with no wind in my sails.
And while I’m slogging along in this place, it causes me to stop and think. I look back at the path I’ve just taken which led me here. What turns in the road, what decisions in life, what choices every day did I make that brought me to this exact spot where suddenly, I slowed down to what … look around? Was it beautiful and peaceful at first? Was it a trick to get me to look elsewhere instead of where I was going and I tripped, landing in a spot that would take months, perhaps years to get out of?
Two years ago I was stuck also. I was reeling from the aftershock of my divorce, trying desperately to come up for air and breathe freely again. I wasn’t just stuck then. I was drowning.
Then came a time when I felt wholly un-stuck and lived in a whirlwind of drinking, debauchery and denial. It was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.
Oh perhaps I moved for a while during that time. I got to the here and now by moving on from that place. But it’s almost as if I’m trapped in a mine field of boggy mines that keep getting me stuck! I hop from one to the other and though in mid-jump I feel light and carefree, I land and WHAM!
The real problem for me now is I can see the edge of the mine field, whereas four years ago I couldn’t even move. I think seeing the edge is almost as bad as being in the whirlpool of drowning. Because while before I couldn’t even see a way out, now I can and I can’t seem to get there.
It’s like the dreams you have where the phone is ringing and you can’t answer it. Or you need to run and your legs won’t move. I can’t escape the mine field anymore than I could four years ago. Except the mines are now mocking me with one simple question.
Why? Why did it end the way it did? Why did I make the choices I did? Why am I still alone? Why am I unable to meet anyone to share my life with? Why does my life seem to be draining away? Why do I feel a sense of urgency about doing something…anything…and quick before I die?
Why? WHY? WHY???????
I sit quietly in my bog, laden down with burdens, choices, outcomes, and I wait for an answer. And what should my wondering ears hear?
No, not silence. It’s more of a rustle. I look at God and I keep waiting. He just smiles at me, shifts in his seat and slowly shakes his head.
Nope. He’s not gonna tell me.
I have a dear, dear friend who suffered the unimaginable and lost her 4-year old son to a drowning accident many years ago. She tells the story of going to his graveside a few weeks after his death and standing in utter defiance, looking up at the sky and saying “God, I will NOT move until you bring him back. You brought Lazarus back. Now bring back my son!”
She waited, devastation-filled blood pumping angrily through her veins. And waited. And waited. Nothing happened. Until she began to hear a sound breaking through her wall of heartache.
Music. She heard music. She turned and looked up. Someone had placed a wind chime in a tree near her son’s grave. She realized in that moment God had gently touched that wind chime to let her in on a secret: He heard her cries. He heard. But he wasn’t going to answer. Not today. Maybe not ever. After several peaceful moments of listening to the wind chimes, she was able to pull herself together and leave.
She has loved wind chimes ever since. They are a stark reminder of God’s love, God’s presence, but ultimately God’s unwillingness to let her in on the biggest Why of them all…and teaching her to be okay with not knowing.
I ask the Why question a lot less than I used to. But like the wind chime, something reminds me that while I might always be alone, single, broke and fat, and never know why, at least God knows. He has all the answers to every single why I’ve ever asked. And while that is not always easy to take, I can take comfort that he does, in fact, know.
And that will have to be enough, because if I focus on the why’s for too long, I will miss all the wonderful what’s and when’s that are happening all around me every minute of every day: my precious granddaughters. My wonderful children. My family. My job. My friends. I can ask, but I can also learn to accept not ever knowing the answer.
Why? Because I said so. That’s why.