I have had a thing for 21 years.
And as of this week it is gone.
While it is not a person, pet, or possession, the loss feels as immense and overwhelming as losing a loved one.
Last Sunday I couldn’t bear to go to church. Wild horses couldn’t drag me there. The thought of singing praise (or pain) felt exhausting. It just wasn’t in me. The best I can do is passive morose melody. The thought of interacting with anyone at church turned my stomach. I didn’t even want to talk anymore with God about the matter. In-fact I’m banking on the Holy Spirit to intercede my moans. (Romans 8:26)
So, instead of Sunday church, fellowship, or prayer, I went to my thing. I was alone. And I cried. I walked in a stupor, and openly and bitterly wept.
These have been, were, and continue to be bitter-sweet tears. I knew I needed to do this. Like weeping at the graveside, I knew this was part of the long path to uncertain healing. At this stage in my life, I know my processes, what works and what doesn’t. I know it’s uncomfortable for some, and it’s not their way. But I’ve come to completely accept me and the ways I find closure. I’ve been perfectly made this way.
So my thing. I do not want it anyone. I have come to hate my thing. I have hated it for a while now. It is the ball and chain of my life. It has been the cage I should have left years and years ago when the door suddenly flung open.
Instead I embraced my thing. The cage I chose. Because I was very v.e.r.y. good at sitting on the perch. I was the expert of this cage, my perch, the thing. While the world looked so pretty outside my cage, I stayed. I was as loyal as a bird with unclipped wings…staying. Keeping my thing. For many years I convinced myself that this was the right and loyal thing to do. But truth be told—it was the coward’s thing to do. I should have let the thing go away long before.
There are very scary events about to happen because my thing is gone. Those circumstances are private, and they overwhelm me. Maybe God will make some miracles and prevent the terrible aftermath, but I’m not counting on it. (Because regardless of my prayers for relief, the pain has not been removed, the trials have not ceased). So, I am happy when I go for five minutes without thinking about those pending abysmal happenings. Maybe you could see why, I’m tired of talking to God about the thing—I’m tired of thinking about it. Praying, begging, worrying, stewing, churning.
But I have hope. It’s like I get Romans 5:3-4 more than ever–“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
It’ s a fragile type of hope. And here’s what I’m buying into (and trust me I NEVER say that phrase lightly). I have this inkling, the nudge, this stir of hope that God put all this into motion a couple years ago…there are too many puzzle pieces that fit together for it to be coincidence. While the death of my thing is upon me, there is an egg I have carried for years inside my cage.
Oddly I can see that my old thing possibly fertilized and helped produce the zygote that played part in the existence of this NEW egg. Like a mother bird, I have kept it safe and warm. I have hidden it from the snakes and vultures. Unbeknownst to me, through my passions-hobbies-and servant heart—I have been nourishing it. And suddenly, as if God actually timed this, it began to wobble last summer. Something was inside wanting to get out.
Recently the egg has cracked open, whatever inside is okay—alive. It is a NEW thing. And I have not sped along the process of removing the shell from the new thing. Just like baby chicks, removing the shell when they start to hatch can possibly kill them. They need to exercise their strength in the slow and painful and ever-long removal process. Butterflies and their chrysalis have the same process.
So I’m not letting others tempt me to pull off the shell (or chrysalis )—and “boy-howdy!” are some trying to tempt me—and bend my ear—and tell me they know about the contents of my egg and that I should hurry the process along. But I know that is wrong. Dead wrong. And not because I’m afraid of the new thing in my egg—but because this is clearly God orchestrated, and I really don’t want to screw this up. Next to my salvation, it feels more important than anything else. Ever.
As I mourn the old thing, I have fragile hope of the new thing.
Therefore if any (wo)man be in Christ, (s)he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)