I made it through my first holiday without Kiki, and I only cried a little. There should be medals for people grieving losses. My life is now forever split in two; before Kiki’s death and after Kiki’s death. I woke up this morning and thought, “Ugh. Another day. Another gray day.” It wasn’t an encouraging thought. But I stoically swung my legs out from under the covers, dangled them over the bedside a moment, and heaved myself up into harsh reality.
The Lord knows how to get my attention. I dutifully sat down, drank my first cup of coffee (the first of many), did my sudoku puzzle (my way of checking if my brain is still functioning), then opened my devotional in Proverbs (Tim’s and Kathy’s, of course). This is what I read.
The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14)
It got me thinking. I had just gone through breast cancer this summer and really didn’t have much of a problem with it since it is about the “best” kind of cancer you could have. I’m not sure “best” and “cancer” should ever be linked together, but that’s the way I saw it. Easy. But this. This is different.
In The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, Lewis describes a friendship in this way. It is discovering a kindred soul, a person with whom you can say, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” There are many companions in this world, people we can talk to at parties, or eat together, or play together. But a true friend is harder to come by. It’s a person who shares your truth, your purpose, some aspect of who you are and what you love. It is finding someone who can stand by your side, even in trench warfare. I have been blessed by God with friendships I treasure deeply. Just as reading books allows me to enter different worlds, a friendship allows me to enter into someone else’s world through shared thoughts, experiences, confidences. Not only do I see them in a unique way, I see God through their eyes, others through their eyes, even myself through their eyes. My world enlarges.
Lewis writes, “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man [or person] into activity; I want other lights [other people] than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald.” Kiki was a soul mate. Through her eyes, I saw aspects of God I had never noticed before. I saw other people differently because of her insights, I saw normal everyday things differently because I saw them through her eyes. Now that she is gone, there is a hole, and I find my world diminished. I miss her so much. It’s rare to have a daughter who grows up to be your best friend.
So what does this have to do with Proverbs? Let me give you some more of today’s devotional.
“What is the implication? There’s nothing more important than maintaining your inward, spiritual life. A broken body can be sustained with difficulty by a strong spirit, but a broken spirit cannot be sustained by even the physically strongest person in the world. We are taught that our happiness is based on external things such as beauty, health, money, and status. Here we are being told, “No, it has nothing to do with your outward circumstances. Happiness is determined by how you deal with your circumstances from inside, how you process, how you address, and how you view them.” Is there anything that is crushing your spirit?
Prayer: Lord, I do blame my circumstances for my unhappiness, and that makes me secretly resentful toward you. But my joy is largely determined by where I rest my heart. Free me from enslavement to circumstance. Let me rest my hope and heart in you. Amen.”
Keller, Timothy. God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life (p. 112). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
There is a huge temptation to fill the hole where Kiki used to be with something else—preferably chips, cherry pie, and pecan pralines. No. Just kidding. But I find myself dealing with the sorrow and stress by eating, buying pens (an OCD thing. I love pens) and other sundry items. I can’t seem to shake it.
I was watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone this weekend and the scene in the forest disturbed me. Harry sees a dark figure bent over the body of a unicorn, sucking its blood. When the figure approaches Harry, Firenze, a centaur, appears and saves the boy, then explains why such a crime would ever be committed.
“. . . it is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn. Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.”
– Firenze, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Drinking unicorn blood is when we take anything from this world and use it to fill the void in our own souls. We take what is good and gobble it up attempting to feed off it. All it does is give us a cursed life, a half-life.
We just had Easter. Christ, the pure, the defenseless One, gave Himself willing for us. His blood is pure drink, His body pure food. And what He gives is life everlasting.
I miss my baby girl. I miss my best friend. I miss my partner in crime and my right-hand woman. But I will not drink unicorn blood. It will never satisfy me. If the Lord took Kiki, it was so I would fill that hole in my heart with Him. I am not diminished; I’m enhanced. Christ will give me what I need, when I need it. My job is to wait, to seek His glory, to root myself deep into His love, and to live out of that in serving others. Okay. Well, I don’t quite feel it, but I know it’s true. And isn‘t that what walking by faith and not by sight is all about? I will not trust my own inclinations or my own understanding. I’m going to trust Christ’s. There is nothing wrong with feeling pain, with grieving. Jesus was a man of sorrows and so we will also be people of sorrows. I’ve discovered a name; The Fellowship of the Sacred Sorrows. Actually, Bill Nikides, a friend of mine, started it. I liked it, but then I normally write children’s books which explains why my brain is a little wonky-doodle. Kiki always kept my feet firmly on mother earth. Did I mention I miss my sweet girl?
April 23, 2019
Jesus sat in the midst of joy sipping the coming sorrow, so we can sit in the midst of sorrow and sip the coming joy. #Easter Tim Keller
God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful – ‘severe mercies’ at times, but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts’ desire except to give us something better. – Elisabeth Elliot