Posted by: karanoel | December 19, 2019

A surrendered will

As I shared recently, grief swung back around, this time wooing me with sentimental thoughts of Cole coming home. I wasn’t trying to imagine this alternate reality. It just entered my mind one day and kept playing its reel so earnestly, it felt plausible and true, this disguised fantasy. So I didn’t try to turn it off, but lingered there, on those sweet thoughts, letting them touch my heart with their warm breath. When I dreamed one morning of Cole exiting an SUV in front of our house, fresh from the Navy with suitcase in hand, I left my eyes closed after waking, savoring the image, letting it be true for that moment. And I called it back to mind a few times later that day, cradling and caressing the sight of my boy standing before me, happy to be home.

No one would blame me, I think, for indulging myself in these moments. Losing a child is a kind of suffering that deserves some comfort, if only fleeting, it would seem. But what I have found is that false comfort only makes the reality harder. There have been some ugly cries lately because, as sweet as these thoughts have been, the truth is that Cole is not coming home. He already went home and I’m the one who will be showing up there with suitcase in hand someday. 

So what is to be done now? I could easily spend the rest of my life trying to stay connected to Cole through this sweet sadness of memories and grief. But at some point that tie, which feels so temporarily warm and comforting, is bound to become distorted, as always happens when we cling to love rather than loose it. It will, I imagine, reduce Cole to an idea of a person; a stagnant character in the story of me, and diminish the parts of my life that don’t touch his, denying both of us permission to develop and become outside of each other.

At the heart of it, I am once again seeing my will. I want things to be a certain way; for my son to be alive and with me here. I had expectations that would be the case; that God would intervene in Cole’s darkness in that way. It’s not wrong to have prayed for, hoped and expected his freedom here, and it’s certainly not wrong to be sad for my loss. But the tension, the prolonged torment that arises, is not from the very natural process of grief, but from my resistance to surrender my ideas of what should be; what I want to be true; my disappointment and failed expectations, in ruthless trust to my Father who sees my struggle, holds my tender heart in His hands and beckons me forward into a future that it is not defined by outdated desires or by grief.

But surrender is a choice. One I’ve made before, and one I’ll have to make again. I know that peace will follow; it always does. So I will wrestle down my will until I can hand it over freely, a sacred gift that only I can give. And then, like a child whose tantrumed tears dry, whose anguish subsides, whose relationship is restored to sweet order once yielded, I will curl up on my Daddy’s lap and humbly receive His love. It doesn’t mean I will fully understand or see the whole picture, but I will trust that He does, that He is for me, that He has my best at heart. He will speak over me and help me see the good things ahead as hope rises again and we laugh together. 

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

river-in-desert


Responses

  1. I am undone Kara, beautiful and difficult reminder for all of us

    • Thank you, dear Sue. I know you’ve had to walk this hard road of surrender too ❤️

  2. Beautiful!

    • Thank you Kim!

  3. Thank you for sharing a bit of your hard journey of faith with us Kara. Prayers in progress.

    • Thank you, Mitch!


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