I have spent the last few days grumpy, sad, burdened and at a loss for what to do. Our dear friends lost their precious 18 year old son this week. Christian took his own life on July 31, 2014, also the 27 year anniversary of my brother Brent's death. A painful day and somehow still, a day to rejoice. Rejoice not in death, of course. Death stings and leaves us with an inexplicable void. The rejoice is in the celebration of the life had for a season and in the life that is to come. However, right now, we are all in pain, it's the heartbreak that overwhelms and the new reality that stings. There are other things making my heart sad, but in no way do they compare.
I find as life overwhelms and as I begin to grip (opposite of letting go) everything painful again, my connection with God becomes distant. Certainly not severed, though there have been times I have felt that too. Just distant. The opposite of whole...broken. The opposite of surrendered... controlling. The opposite of brave...retreating. The opposite of truly happy....mask wearing. The opposite of whimsical...oppressed and tight. The opposite of worthy...self hatred. The opposite of loved by God...the lies Satan feeds my tired human self. The opposite of basking in God's sunshine...bathing in the darkness. Get it? A pretty solemn picture.
My heart feels broken when I think of Christian and how his heart mustv'e felt during his last days and hours on earth. I wonder how deep was his sense of hoplessness and despair? I wonder if he thought that the life of others would somehow be better without his presence. And, oh, how I desperately wish I, we, anyone could've been the light for him, the hope, the love. I don't know if he would've allowed that. Then there is the guilt along with countless unanswered questions. As I discovered on my walk this morning, at least for me, there is also a little anger and resentment toward God (maybe even a whole lot).
I love Christian. I have loved him since he was in his Momma's tummy. My favorite memory of him is when we went to visit them in Dallas many moons ago. Christian was about two. We were outside and he was wearing a black leather jacket and jeans. He was full of toddler energy, feisty and affectionate with the best giggle. We blew bubbles for what seemed like forever. He giggled the whole time (except when he spat on one of us...some of us still giggled)! He was joyful and free and I believe that he is joyful and free now....but I miss him. I wonder why this isn't one of the times when God chose to swoosh in and save the day...to save Christian. I wondered why He didn't do this the whole last year as well. He didn't though, and that's that.
I love/hate Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I love it because I know I can 100% stand on God's promise that there will be good, and I know nothing is wasted. I hate it because no where does it say that God and I will have the same idea of good nor does He promise to give me all my requested answers. So God didn't allow things to happen in a way that I think I would think is best...but again, he's got the panoramic view and I have the snapshot. He is God, I am not.
I know His love remains steady in joy and in pain. I picture Christian right now as little boy Christian in the black leather jacket blowing bubbles and giggling.....with God....with angels....with his grandparents and his little sister Trinity. I am pretty certain God wept when Christian wept, that he weeps with those hurting now and that he will rejoice with us when we rejoice.
The time I used to spend on daily walks was a special time of connection for me and God. Since these walks were times of connections and I have totally avoided them for a good solid year, it makes sense that my closeness with God feels a bit fizzled. I mean, He is here. We chat all day and sometimes all night long. I don't do a whole lot of being still and I sure don't do much listening. I am determined to care for myself and the most significant part of that is making time for God and I and our walks a priority. This morning, I begrudgingly put my tennis shoes on right after I brushed my teeth...and a bra. That's about it. The pajamas and the attitude remained. I grabbed ear plugs, my phone and headed out into the already humid morning.
Ten minutes. That's it. I only had to walk 10 minutes....it's a start. I walked slowly at first, my head swarming with lists and lists of to do's and should have dones. The sun was pretty and peeking from behind the trees, but it was HOT! (Did I mention sweating is not my thing?) Nothing in the worship music I heard really caught my attention. (Bear with me, because the post is way less about me and way more about God and sweet Christian). As I walked, some of the words to songs begin to seep in, until the song about putting my trust in Jesus came on. The tears began to flow and I let God know how angry I was, how sad, and how messed up this is. I prayed for everyone, including me....I could feel a small wall I was keeping up between God and I. I asked Him how in the world I was supposed to put my trust in someone who allows this to happen. God didn't reach down and scoop me up out of the pain, he didn't yell at me for being angry, he didn't stop my tears....nothing. I heard nothing, and then I knew...time to shhhh. So I walked, and I cried and the Holy Spirit began to fill my grumpy heart with something close to joy...coming in gentle waves, warming my heart and softenining my borders. I stopped trying to ask question, I stopped talking, I just soaked in the lovlieness I could feel.
I was going to head back home but I felt one more round would be nice and maybe a song would come on that would be medicine to my heart. (I had not looked at the clock once, that alone tells me I was entering a place of God and Sarah time). I asked God to reveal himself to me because I was really needing him. (It's more like asking him to help me open the eyes of my heart, to surrender and feel Him, for He never left me in at all.)
As I turned to make another loop, the song "I'll fly away" came on. This song is immensely special to me on many levels. I laughed out loud. I held my hands out like wings and I closed my eyes, spinning and imagining I was flying. (No neighbor called the police on me, for this I am thankful). Christian was on my heart this whole time, joyful, free, smiling. When I opened my eyes and turned around, I was standing in rays of sunshine beaming down. Rusty (our golden retriever) and Maple (our special girl) had spotted me from a block away and were running, running, running toward me. I bent down and called them by name. They practically knocked me over because they were so happy to see me. (nevermind that I had seen them less than an hour before). Christian, again in my heart....I thought of God welcoming him with the most beautiful joy Christian had ever experienced. I thought of Christian running, running, running toward God for an embrace from his heavenly father that he had been waiting for his whole life. My heart smiled and gave thanks for the way God spoke to it this morning.
Please pray for Christian's sweet and hurting family and friends. This pain is deep. So deep. There has been a fund set up for Christian, this will cover funeral and burial expenses, medical bills and whatever else is needed at this time. If you go to http://www.gofundme.com/christian-snyder, donations can me made. I'm sure every little bit helps.
p.s. Nathan had posted the following bro tip on his fb wall the night before Christian died....it says
"If only for a second, stop and appreciate the fact that you're alive."