Monday, November 16, 2009

Building Heart Muscles

I was awake last night around 3am just thinking ... Brayden had his second hockey tournament yesterday. He plays SO hard. It amazes me what an athlete he is at just six years old. I had reminded him to make sure to put his coat on when we left the arena because I didn't want his muscles to cool down too quickly and get even more sore. Which led me to think about how the way muscle is built. It is by tearing the fibers, which unfortunately causes pain, that strong and more numerous fibers can build. That's when it occurred to me that the heart is a muscle. Even though our hearts go through terrible pain at times, through it all we hopefully end up on the other side of that pain with a stronger passion, love, resolve, and wisdom.
(grab kleenex now)

Yesterday also marked the 10 year anniversary of my father's second heart attack that was his call back to Heaven.

It's difficult for me to believe that 10 years have passed since that evening that I received a phone call that he was being taken by ambulance to the hospital after collapsing during his weekly tennis match ... and that it didn't look good. It seems like yesterday in so many ways, and yet I also realize how much life has happened since that day that I was sure the world had stopped and my heart was shattered.

The loss of a parent ... even if you know where they have gone and that it was God's plan from the beginning of time ... knowing that you are alone in the world in a way so different from the way you entered it ... it can be very raw and full of anger or fear ... and quite honestly I was angry for a very long time. Oh lucky Jeff getting to marry a wounded, angry bride 5.5 months later after a year and a half long engagement. It's just not something that I was able to "get over" or "accept" or move on. I had a lot of questions I WANTED ANSWERED.

One of the questions I often threw out there to God was "what GOOD can possibly come from this?"
And I would wait ... as if He was going to answer me right then and there ... clear as a bell ... with something tangible that I could and would actually accept as, "oh, well, okay, I guess you were right and that makes it all better."
Instead ... I'm sure he just scooped me up in his arms and whispered "hush-shshshsh" as I cried and struggled and protested.

It was unbearable to me to understand any good coming from someone so close to me being ripped from my life without warning. And having grown up in a close knit family ... right next door to my grandparents ... the thought of my future children not having a grandfather seemed pretty cruel and empty. It wasn't just me who was left without a father ... Jeff's father was called back to Heaven when he was only 15 ... after a long battle with cancer. However ... although the cancer may have taken his life ... it also drove him into the arms of accepting Christ and so it also saved his life as well. Jeff and I have a unique perspective having faced the death of both of our fathers. And we've had conversations on which is better/easier, to loose someone quickly without warning ... or slowly knowing the inevitable is near, since we both can speak from the perspective of each vantage point. But ultimately I think we both realize that cherishing relationships and the time we have is most important. You can have a million years and never feel close to someone or appreciate them ... and that wouldn't be better.

It's amazing how our lives take different turns than we may imagine or would choose. But knowing that God knew all along what would be before us and that it IS all working for HIS good (even though we don't often times understand) is something that I cling to and find rest and comfort in. I love that God gave me such a wonderful, loving father to shape and mold my life. I love that he was a believer and is in Heaven. I love that God holds me in the times that I am weak so He can be strong. I miss my dad and I know that God knows that and loves that too.
So much good can come from these things. And it will.


Girly Girl Mommy said...

Beautiful, Valerie.
I wish you much peace on this difficult anniversary.

Tara Anderson said...

The tears are flowing here now!!! I can't imagine how hard it was for you to lose your father...and for Jeff to have lost his as well. I'm thankful you can see God in this now, and that you let Him hold you and soothe you when the pain was too much to bear.

Reading this actually reminded me of a question I just had to answer on my "Background Questionnaire" sheet for our homestudy: All children who are adopted will experience separation and loss. Discuss your own experience(s) with loss and how you might help a child deal with this. Once again, Valerie, I just can't help but wonder if God is preparing you for something. I have no doubt your answer to that question would be a lot better than mine...

Love you!

The Sanders Family said...

Valerie, this made me cry of course. Your words were so real, so vulnerable as always. And I love that you admit that you were angry for so long, because what a testament it is to God that you can now see how He works. We don't always understand how, but there's always a reason and a time and a place for everything, and it all works for His glory. I'm glad you find great comfort in that fact! Your father was surely a wonderful man to raise such a daughter as yourself! Love you! Angie :)

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The family