I am a quirky person; well, all of us are actually. One quirky thing I do is count my days with coffee filters. I buy them in packs of 100, and so when I open them I always think, What will life be like in 100 days? Sometimes I know—summer will be over, school will be rolling, snow may be on the mountain—but days always pass, nothing slows them down.
So now I have hit 150 days, 5 months, since Kara died. I think about that day often and cry freely.
Five months. I can hardly believe that it has been 5 months. The months have included more tears than I have ever shed, more physical heartache, more crying for my kids, than my whole life combined. But it has also included a load of laughter, travel throughout most of the U. S., significant time with my kids, and needed time with good friends.
The kids and I have adjusted to a new normal. We adventure together well, they show compassion to each other often, we have created memories that have helped us see that life has not stopped. We have made some changes in our house during the process of decluttering (Kara was a collector of things and I am finding boxes of collections!). I gave up the master bedroom and moved to a smaller room so Ella and Harper could share a larger space and have their own bathroom.
Moving out of that large room and painting was a good process for me; it has helped me to own more of my present circumstances. My girls need more space and I am fine in a smaller room. All I really want is a bed to sleep in and a comfortable chair in which to read. I am beginning to grasp my present circumstance more as a single, working dad. I don't fully know my limitations yet but I know as I go forward I have so many people who love us well and who will help.
August 19th marks 150 days, so I read Psalm 150. The book of Psalms is a mess of emotions and feelings directed toward God and others. There is nothing neat and tidy about this book, except the clean bow it ends with:
1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!
This last chapter holds more weight when you have plowed through the whole book, just like life. Joy is significant when you have wallowed in grief, peace and rest are valued when you have carried a burden of guilt or shame. When the ache of loss has been voiced, the tears have been shed, the doubt has been cast. To then be weary in the words “God is in his sanctuary”; he can meet me in all of my mess and emotion and ache, and he is still God.
It is not an easy step to sing the joy of this last Psalm, but when we see that God can handle what all the Psalm writers throw at him, he can handle my junk too. We miss the significance of this last chapter if we try to ignore our ache and just act like life is great.
How do you struggle to admit that God is God in the midst of your disappointment? What do you fear in actually letting God know your hurt?
And for those of you wondering I have about 25 coffee filters left!