Have you ever experienced a time when God seems silent? The past 15 months have been the most difficult of my life. I have walked with God as my Savior for 30 years ... and during that time God's love for me and his faithfulness to me has overwhelmed me many times. These past months, however, I have felt the deepest pain and heartache of my life wrapped up in several difficult packages. I know I would not have survived without God carrying me, however, I am discovering I have changed in significant ways that I believe I may never understand fully. I've wondered ... is the silence I feel from God of my own doing? Have I walked away from him? Or has He become silent that I may learn to seek Him in different, deeper ways? I have struggled with all my old fears rising to the surface and with the exception of a few days, I have heard only silence.
John Kirvan's book entitled Silent Hope: Living With the Mystery of God (2001) begins with these words:
"In the beginning there is a hunger for God. Then in time there comes a realization that the God for whom we hunger is unknowable, that this God escapes our every attempt to confine him to the limits of our mind and soul. This God is accessible only to raw faith. But there is still another discovery to come. The God for whom we hunger, the God in whom we believe is a silent God and there is no escape from her silence. There is only hope."
I'd be lying if I said my hope had not been damaged ... but I would also be lying if I said it had been destroyed. All of this (and more) has led to to Sam and I stepping into the next chapter of our lives together. Today Sam and I took what feels like our first real steps down this new path. Seth, Laura, Hillary, Sammy & of course Blade, Finnegan & Mikeo, drove down together to the airport to see Sam off to Egypt (with 3 checked bags close to 70 pounds each, and 2 carry on bags). This journey for Sam is the culmination of years of God working on his heart through the research he has been doing combined with an amazing opportunity for him in Egypt. As the afternoon settles into evening I sit wondering when it will sink in that my husband will be making his "home" in Egypt. Settling in, buying towels, a chair, a blanket or two, a lamp...feels surreal. Meanwhile I am here typing with Hillary sitting beside me watching a show on T.V. and eating leftover Chinese food while Blade "talks" in the background.
I found Kirvan's book in the midst of some books that were brought home from Sam's office ... and its title caught my attention. As I read the opening lines I thought to myself that Kirvan understands where I find myself. In the midst of our daughter and her husband losing their sweet baby Parker literally days before we were to meet him was ... well, there are no words to describe the fullness of a loss like that. It alters your DNA. Nothing in life is the same. God seemed so real to me in the days and weeks after. But the hits have kept coming the last 15 months ... leaving me numb to most things and a bit off-kilter if I'm honest. What does it mean to have hope in my life? Kirvan said it well on p. 20 when he wrote, "What we seek on our journey is not a solution to a problem, not the answer to a question, but an encounter with the mystery of hope that will by very definition far exceed the best efforts of our mind, the utmost limits of our imagination." I will never understand the small flicker of hope that has somehow survived within my soul. But it's there, and for now, it's enough.
It seems so counter-intuitive that when I feel more than ever that family should be close in proximity to love and support one another we decide Sam should take advantage of this remarkable opportunity that places him on the other side of the world ... it seems God does have a sense of humor.
Well, I will write more later, but for now I want to sign off with yet one more quote if you will so indulge me from a prayer on page 31 that reads ....
"Let me fall asleep as who I am,
one small, unclutterd step
closer to you,
one small step closer to
the person I want to be.
It will be enough."
Enough strength and hope for one day ... that's all I need Lord for tomorrow ...
Just me ...