Wednesday, April 24, 2013

suffering around the Christmas tree


I'm not sleeping well these days.  I keep waking up from anxiety ridden dreams that make no sense.  And during the waking hours my thoughts keep drifting to places of suffering.  To Newtown.  To the face of my mother, for who life is way too big of a struggle.  To thoughts of the Bethlehem community that faced the massacre of its own babes all those years ago.  It changes the feel of Christmas.  But in some way, I think Christmas always seems to come with a mix of emotion. 

There have been other years where I have had a heavy heart, like the year my sweet friend lost the baby girl she was carrying. For all the joy and excitement and love, there seems to be equal parts of brokenness and hardship and pain without end.   It all makes me crawl up on the couch with my Bible.  It makes me long for God.  Not just the celebration of his birth, but of his return. 

It drags me back to the question without answer... Where is God in our suffering?  Why does he allow gunmen and disease to kill us and those we love?  Why does he heal and protect some and not others?  I don't see where God has ever answered this question (although some well-meaning
Christians have tried to speak for him...never a good idea to speak for God when he is silent).  I don't have answers despite pondering the question and studying it for years. 

Yesterday we said good-bye to my parents.  We had had a wonderful celebration with them and my brother's family.  Good fun, food, festivities.  Lots of laughs.  But it is not without pain.  We don't talk about it because we are not sure how much the children actually notice.  But their Grandma is becoming a shell of who she use to be.  She has lost over 50 or so pounds since Easter.  She can't see.  She struggles to put her thoughts into words and to hold her head up.  She's tired a lot.  She is truly just a shell of the woman who raised me, and I seriously wonder whether she will be with us next year for Christmas.  Part of me sincerely hopes she is not.

Part of me longs for her to be free from this body.  From this fight to breathe and eat and think.  I long to let her go into the hand of our heavenly Father.  Odd to think that one who has all to gain by death lives and those in Newtown with all to live for, they died.  Where is the justice in this?  Where are you God?

As much as my heart asks the question, my heart also knows.  God is here.  He is with us.  He is with me.  He was in Sandy Hook Elementary school that awful Friday morning.  He is with my mother every morning she awakes.  We suffer but we are not alone.

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