Why do I write?
Through the years I have picked up and put down countless hobbies, habits and interests. While the dust gathered on the pilates mat, my punch card remained un-punched at the pottery studio and the metal rusted on the mountain bike, I remained devoted to one practice, writing. It has always been my respite and company of comfort. Writing forces me to pay attention. Today I wade through dark waters of grieving the loss of my beloved son, Webb. I find that by writing my thoughts, my prayers, my reflections I take pause from grief’s current and tread water. Only the treading does not wear me out, but lifts me up. I am able to keep floating because I’ve paid attention to what I’ve floated through, Who has carried me and what still lies ahead. I pay attention to the prayers left unanswered and the quiet, holy whispers that nudge me to trust.
Writing allows me to release the aching, the longing and the rage that stirs inside me. By pouring out, I am filled. Usually, ultimately, miraculously God empties out pain and fills with mercy. Often I begin writing staring death and loss in the face. It is all I see. Eye to eye with fists raised, I type in a face-off with anger and pain. Slowly and deliberately God softens my glare, lowers my fists, opens my hands and turns me around completely. By the time I shut my computer, I find that I am no longer engaged in stubborn battle, but resting in His arms with grace’s blue ribbon draped across my heart.
Why do I want to blog?
This question has conflicted me the most. Those who know me know that I am fiercely protective of my family in this grief. Their thoughts, their prayers, their questions remain theirs to tell. But I am now more than ever convinced that God is the author in my story of love and loss, and He always entitles it “Grace”. By keeping the story to myself, I rob Him and you of the beauty He has revealed. This story is not my own to keep tucked inside the hedges of safety and control. My pruning scissors shake from fingers rattled with fear. I begin snipping away the hedges and realize that the roots of control never even existed and the freedom to stand with palms truly open is God’s great gift of grace.
In addition to the healing powers of sharing the journey, I have also come to believe that as believers in Christ, we are called to know sorrow. For too long I stood in the bleachers, a safe distance away from those who suffered. I was comfortable feeding the poor occasionally, baking bread for the sick and casually praying for the desperate. As I walk through death’s valley I see clearly how I’ve spent too long praising the Lord with my left arm raised high while using my right arm to wrap a wall of protection around my family and friends. Though I thought I desired God, what I really craved was safety. Pain is not something to witness from afar with stiff arms, but to enter into with soft hands. By sharing this valley, I invite others to dare to break, dare to release and dare to trust that God will meet us in the darkness and that ultimately light is always more powerful than dark.
And lastly, I believe that a life’s worth is not measured by how many days are lived, but by how much love it has inspired. My son, Webb, lived three beautiful, sacred years with us. He now lives eternally with his Father where he knows complete and perfect love. But he continues to inspire those of us who remain on this side of heaven. As his blessed mother, it is my heart’s desire to carry on that love and to be a devoted steward of his inspiration. God tells us that in the end all that remains is faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is my prayer that as I walk through death’s valley I will find faith in God’s goodness, hope in His promises and ultimately God’s love over it all.