Don’t let go

I am good at letting go. It’s something I like about myself. I find it to be a useful skill as a writer, a mom, a wife.

My boss can shred what I write, my four-year-old can pee on the floor, Jensen can be human and mess up, and I can let it all go. I will feel what I feel, I will learn what I can learn, and then I will tell myself not to care until I genuinely stop caring.

I have done this with success enough times to know that I can think and self-talk my way out of any emotion. I am like a drill sergeant that tells my mind what to think.

Forgiving certain events has taken months of constantly repeating: “It’s over now. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care.” At first, it feels like I am lying to myself, but I am eventually convinced and my feelings come into line. There is no longer any pain attached to what was the most painful of memories because I know that it is over now, it doesn’t matter and I don’t care.

But losing Brody has presented me with a whole new challenge.

I am terrified of forgetting even the littlest detail. It hurts to think that I don’t know him the way a mom should know her child. And I don’t ever want to stop caring deeply about this part of myself, this part of my story.

Sometimes it feels like the only alternative to not caring is to be overwhelmed with grief. I tried to create his photo album recently and I broke down within 15 minutes. I was consumed with sadness and the weight of our family’s loss. I couldn’t find a way to look at his beauty without suffering.

But I am convinced that there must be a way. Please God. There must be a way to remember my boy with joy and thanksgiving. I want to recognize the gift of his life without fury at the injustice of his death. Is that too much to ask?

A Bible verse that has always challenged me says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).”

And Paul writes in Romans 5: “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts….”

That’s what I am aiming for—character and hope. I want God’s love poured out in my heart. I am challenged still to understand how suffering and trials can inspire rejoicing and pure joy, especially a trial as harsh as death. But I’m hoping that’s what you discover when you persevere. Because it is not over, it does matter and I do care, and there needs to be room for that in healthy mind and a happy heart.

This time, I am not letting go.

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