In the Middle

I recently came across a quote on Instagram that resonated with me & I want to share it with you…

I seek out the ones who are in the middle of it:

The middle of making.

The middle of healing.

The middle of learning.

The middle of changing.

Because I know how much courage it takes

to get from a beginning to the middle,

& then stay there to do the work.

-Rebecca Ray

I am in this place the poem speaks of…”the middle”. I have waded through the devastation of loss & yet I don’t feel whole quite yet. I’m still under the cloud of grief.

I started a reading plan in YouVersion [have I mentioned that YouVersion is my jam?? It totally is] the plan is called Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage & Loss.

I am very pleased with the words she uses in it to validate & encourage. I’d like to share some of them here with you…because getting from the beginning to the middle seems so much easier than moving from the middle forward… the process is necessary & even wanted…most of the time, but man is it hard. There is an in-between portion from hurt to healing. This is what I’d like to talk about.

I remember the days of wanting to crawl into a cave, find a place to curl up there in the quiet, and never wake up. It wasn’t that I actually wanted to die, it’s just that I didn’t know how to live under the weight of my sadness and collapsed expectations.

Many days this is where I find myself. I find safety under my blankets, hidden away from the many people who I know love & care deeply for me. I don’t want to see the sad eyes, but I also don’t want our pain & loss to go unacknowledged. This space feels impossible…where no one can win. Where I can’t even win. I’m not hopeless, I wholeheartedly believe better days lay ahead of me. I know that healing will come & that this pain will be turned into something beautiful. But right now, despite knowing all of that & believing it, those things aren’t happening today. Today hurts.

Out of nowhere, sorrow would hit me like a heat wave, pressing on my chest, leaving me desperate to peel off layers so I could find some relief. But even while experiencing intense loneliness, I also remember feeling the sweetness of God’s presence in some of those shadowy hours. Something told me his quietness wasn’t abandonment—it was companionship. 

Often times when grieving you ask deep questions about where God is, or why He doesn’t care or why He told us to have faith when we still ended up experiencing great loss. This time around, I have not found myself here. Rather I’m reminded of a quote from the Poetry Bandit: “if Love could talk, she wouldn’t; she knows there are no words to explain what happened. she would just hold me, stroke my cheek & let her tears do the talking.” If love could talk, she wouldn’t…I think that words are important to give when people are grieving. But not too many. I feel God near me, stroking my cheek, not rushing me toward the “finish line” of healing, just letting me be where I am, feeling what I’m feeling, & I’m so grateful. I have moments where I feel the weight of my own expectations to “hurry up & get over it” but when I quiet myself, meditate, read scripture, listen to worship, I always feel released from this self-inflicted pressure.

And this, friend, is the truth of grief: It’s wild. Grief does not follow a blueprint. It minds no flowchart. It doesn’t tick off boxes, it will not be contained in your favorite list app, and it most certainly won’t stay put on the calendar. 

Grief is wild like the sea, but it doesn’t need to destroy us. We can’t conquer it, but we can navigate it, and we can find Jesus there too.

As I sat in my Doctor’s office, unwelcome tears streaming down my cheeks she gently told me that after going through what I have, it’s normal to feel sad for at least six months. She explained that it might not be that long & it might take longer but that is a general time frame that seems consistent. Six months. I’m only creeping up on the one month mark & am already feeling annoyed that it’s taking so long.

You’ll find this as you grieve: Some days you’ll have the strength to dive deep into Jesus-& He’ll meet you there. Other days you’ll barely manage a nudge in His diretion-& He’ll meet you there too. God’s grace is big enough for both.

I love this quote because it reaffirms the notion I have of God & His love for me. Nothing separates me from God. He is not threatened or offended by me & my human nature. He made me just as I am & He understands my process. He gets me & loves me just as I am. He does not just tolerate me & my sadness. He adores me, covering me with His blanket of peace as my wounds heal. Wounds that can only heal with time.

Suffering does not choose the weak or the strong, the faithful or the faithless. It chooses the human. When you are caught by waves that are larger than your capacity to stay above the surface, you’ve got to allow your heart to feel the pain all the way down to the bottom, so that when you get there you can see you’re still alive. There’s still hope. It’s from the bottom that we can begin to heal our way back up to the surface. The human heart is fragile, yes, but it’s also more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

Death & loss are things that touch everyone no matter their income, status, faith, attitude, or beliefs. I don’t believe there is a rhyme or reason to loss, only that it touches everyone & has the ability to bind us together in a way that other things cannot. Even if we don’t experience the same losses the pain of loss is similar, unique, & relatable.

The deep is not our enemy or a thing to be resisted. But it does command our attention. No matter what form it takes, suffering always commands our attention. It will not be alleviated by comparison to greater or lesser suffering, or even your perception of it. Your pain is your pain and it deserves the dignity of recognition, for that is where healing begins. 

When we experience grief it’s almost inevitable that we will hear the dreaded words: “I know how you feel” or something that communicates this thought. I’ve been thinking a lot about this & have come to this place:

I don’t think when people say this [well most of them], that they are belittling your pain or even saying that they’ve been where you are exactly. I think that they are communicating that the feeling of pain/loss is something they understand. Yes, losing different people feels different & affects us each differently but it all still hurts. When we see someone hurting, we are reminded of the times when we were hurt & so we try to comfort others by saying: I know how much pain can overwhelm. I know how empty you can feel after a loss. You are not alone. 

As someone who has experienced a lot of grief & is currently processing through some trauma, I know how tempting it is to be angry with anyone who “doesn’t get it” or says the wrong thing…which often times is everyone. There are plenty of books & posts about how to respond to a grieving person. But what about the person who is grieving? If you would allow me to, I would encourage you, the next time you are experiencing loss that you remember that the people who are offering you words of “comfort” that sting & upset you, that you keep this in mind: These people are loving you the best way they can. As a grieving person, you are a bit of a cactus. No one is quite sure how to let you be you, process the way you need, AND love you well. So recognize their words as an effort to love you through the uncomfortable.

Naming our suffering does not mean becoming defined by it. 

This is something else I think people are concerned about. We think that if we name our pain then we will be putting it on as a name tag. That no one will see us as anything other than our pain. I don’t think this has to be the case. Your pain does become a part of you but it doesn’t have to define you. Right now I am a woman who miscarried & is struggling with depression in the aftermath. This will not always be the case. At some point, I will be someone who is able to offer hope to others because of the unique pain I’ve experienced. Somehow my pain will help me be more compassionate, gentle, understanding, & helpful toward others because I’ve chosen that. Maybe not today. But someday.

So I suppose, in closing it really all comes down to having patience. In order to wade through “the middle” of your grief process & be the hero/heroine of your story, you must learn patience.

  • Patience with yourself, when the grief process takes longer than you want it to.
  • Patience with God when you don’t understand His purpose, but you still feel His presence.
  • Patience with those that offer you comfort that doesn’ always feel comforting.

The middle is difficult. Find someone who’s there & love them well. Encourage them as best as you can. Try your best to know that they are just trying to move forward & some of the littlest baby steps are actually big victories in their story, celebrate with them!

& if you’re in the middle: It’s okay to sit for a while. It’s okay to be by yourself for a while. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. BUT remember that all those ginormous feelings don’t have to morph you into someone you no longer know, they do not have to define you. This is a chapter, an awful plot twist, but it doesn’t have to be your forever.

Keep Moving Forward Loves…toward the hope & peace filled light.

Namesste,

Sarah

The Mess in Me Honors the Mess in You

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