I get it from him.
This penchant for waving my arms as the words of a story won't come out fast enough and somehow the waving speaks life into my thoughts in a way syllables never can.
Life. What a precious gift.
It's been eight years. Eight years yesterday. My sister, Cara, had the impossible task of calling all of my siblings - all eight of us - and telling us that Dad was gone.
He died from mental illness. This silent killer that makes even close friends squirm when you talk about it. This painful, wretched stealer of dreams and futures that takes grandfathers away from their grandchildren and Dads away from their sons and daughters and it passes through generations in a vicious cycle that bears down on the souls in its path and leaves behind a nagging, aching, "Why?"
I don't know that I'll ever understand it. Maybe I don't want to. Shame, guilt, longing and fear - mixed together in a secret recipe for sorrow. I suppose this time of year is when I think about it the most. It's the time of year when I cry about it.
Well, this time of year. And, when I meet new friends and I throw a knowing glance at my husband, whose brown eyes return my glance with his special brand of kindness as the conversation turns to family. I know it's coming.
"My parents? Well, I lost my father when I was four months pregnant with my first son."
"Oh, I'm so sorry. How did he die?"
How could they know?
We straighten our blouses and clear out throats and after we've recovered from the awkwardness of it all, we take sips of sweet tea as inwardly I shake my head at how one bite of an apple could cause so much pain.
Inevitably, Easter follows the anniversary of my Dad's death.
As I raise my hands and they flail about as I tell our latest family story - the kind where just words simply won't do but need all the emotion I can muster, I remember Dad.
And, as I raise my hands in worship on Easter morning - praising the One who has defeated mental illness and this present darkness and suffering, I will remember Dad.
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead.
He's alive! He's alive!
Christ Has Risen - Matt Maher
I have hope deep down in my soul. For me. For my siblings. For my friends whose hearts are broken. For my children. For those who suffer with mental illness and are precious in God's sight.
Because Jesus - the triumphant One whose death and life my family will mourn and celebrate in the span of three days - LIVES!
Because Jesus - is the Comforter of my soul.
Because Jesus - died just to know and love me.
And, in the midst of my pain and sadness - yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
He is enough.
Monday, April 2, 2012
I get it from him.