Sunday, September 1, 2013

a thin vapor

I am frustrated by faint memories.  I would like them to be more vivid.  If we only use a partial amount of our brain's capacity,  then why does my life feel so full of memories, that some of them have faded almost away? Anna is 17.  I remember that at 17, my mom and I were very close.  But nothing is vivid, just a vague sense of the gist of our relationship.  Of course, there was conflict, too. (Hello...I was 17.)  But why does the conflict seem to come back in clearer tones?  I feel like so much of what was good and worth hanging on to between my mom and I is like a thin vapor.  Why is that?  Why can't I recall memory after memory that warms my heart;  I know they are in my brain somewhere.  Why does the good slip so easily away and the painful cling to us like barnacles?

I feel this way even about this summer.  Six weeks ago when she died, I was awestruck by all the ways God answered my prayers.  It seemed like every prayer for her had been check off by him.  Done.  Got it.  Yep, that one too.  But now, just six weeks later, that seems like a vapor I can't hold.  In my grief, the years of unanswered prayers grip my soul.  I'm struggling to believe, much less remember, the God who heals.  I know the other memories are in there; they represent experiences that reveal his love for me and for her.  But right now I feel stuck with a faith and a grief in a God who was silent and didn't answer when I begged. Like an elephant in the living room.  I don't want my faith to be that small...or petty.  Yet I don't know how to move on either.

This morning scripture that I have read many times seemed to take on new life.  " Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days"  (John 11:5-6).  It is clear that he loves me and he loves her.  The depth of his love for us does not correlate to his healing, at least not always.  He loves deeply those he does not heal.  He didn't heal my mom many times over, not from MS and often not from depression either.  But he loves her...and he loves me.

 I know it's true.  I know much more; like that she is now healed for eternity in a way far superior to what he could have brought for while she lived on earth.  I know that he was awaiting her this summer and ever close to her, bringing her the last part of the journey.  And yet I feel stuck, not able to hold on to what I know.  It's a thin vapor slipping between my fingers.