Friday, September 27, 2013

In the Middle of Reeling


I wrote a post over Middle Places today titled "In the Middle of Perspective", but it should've been titled In the Middle of Reeling... because, really - reeling is really a much more accurate depiction of what I am actually doing, lurching violently, still grasping at perspective.
One of my coworkers passed away suddenly earlier this week.  It was so terribly sudden and unexpected and we are all reeling in silent motion, greiving and processing and dealing in our own ways while we go on with our daily routines.  I work for a smallish company and sometimes, in smallish ways, it feels like a smallish family of sorts.

On Monday, I'd walked into her office to talk with her about a work-related issue.  On Tuesday, I walked into her office to sign the memory book for her family.  I walked in and immediately wished that I hadn't.  Although I wasn't extremely close to her, the sight of the empty office, and her empty chair seemed to modify the gravity in the room, making my feet feel heavy and unable to move.  Her personal items had been replaced with a framed portait and vases of flowers.  I sat in her chair to write, offering what words I could muster of symptathy and empathy and of hope.  But all I could really think was that she had been sitting in that same chair just the day before...

I sat still but my mind was racing, and my heart was reeling, recoiling from the brutal force of having been sucker punched in the throat by mortality.  There were a few brief moments, there in her empty office all alone, that I seriously questioned my entire existence altogether. 
Coming face to face with the life and death of another always makes us come face to face with the reality of our own.

In those moments, stupified by shock and grief; disoreiented by the realization of how fast and fleeting and fragile this life is, we want answers. 

John Mayer wrote a song titled No Such Thing that suggests there's no such thing as the real world.  And I beg to differ.  This is the real world.  My youngest brother has this thing he'll say at the most random, ordinary and sometimes awkward moments of life.  He simply says, "This is real life."  It's comical and caustic because the thing is - whatever moment you're in - he's right.  It's rather ironic that it's often in the wake of death that life becomes more real

In those moments, there are no answers.  Only questions. 

What am I doing with my life?  Am I wasting my it?  What would she have written in my memory book?  What would others write in mine?  Did I show her Jesus?  Am I showing Jesus to others?  To anyone?  Have I missed my calling?  What is my calling?  Did I miss an opportunity?  Do I even look for opportunity?  Could I have been more sensitive to His spirit?...

At the end of that day, and of all of my days, I realized how very much I want my life to count for something - and don't we all?  Something so much greater than myself or the sum of my needs.  I was reminded of that desire in my heart to live a life of passionate pursuit of His purpose and how, in recent months, I'd been lulled by life into routine.  The constant whirring and buzzing of traffic lanes and car rider lines and football games all moving together, creating a lullaby of white noise, drowining out the very thing - the very One - who has the answers.    

The One who calms the wind and waves, can calm the storm in me.  In the middle of all my reeling, He speaks through His word:  "Be still, and know that I am God." 
  
And I cry out to Him, as the Psalmist did in Psalm 39 - and my reeling follows so much of the same pattern: sickness and sorrow and doubt, followed by sielnce and grieving ... and ultimately, submission - or rather, surrender.  All over again...
"The psalmist, bowed down with sickness and sorrow, is burdened with unbelieving thoughts, which he resolves to stifle, lest any evil should come from their expression, Ps 39:1-2. But silence creates an insupportable grief, which at last demands utterance, and obtains it in the prayer of Ps 39:3-6, which is almost a complaint and a sigh for death, or at best a very desponding picture of human life. From Ps 39:7-13 the tone is more submissive, and the recognition of the divine hand more distinct; the cloud has evidently passed, and the mourner's heart is relieved." ~ Spurgeon
My heart - and my reeling - is relieved. 

Oh Lord remind me of how brief my life on Earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered and time is fleeing away, that My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you. Human existence is but a breathe.
And so Lord where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
Psalm 39:4,5

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