Monday, October 10, 2011

One Heck of a Layover

On one of our trips to Haiti, D and I got stuck in an airport due to a missed flight.  We actually weren't stuck in the airport since we did receive a discount coupon to a local hotel.  (Thank you for the generous $10 off, Mr. Big Airline Company...)  But it was still frustrating.  The circumstances were beyond our control.  While sitting on the tarmac waiting for our plane to take off, we knew we were going to be running late.  We arrived at the airport to make our connecting flight and raced hopelessly to the right gate, knowing that we had probably missed the flight but still hoping it was not true.  And then the reality set in and we realized we were going to have to do something with our whiney "I just want to be at home!" attitude.  Home would have to wait, at least for one more night.  We watched other travelers, walking calmly to board their planes, smiling and laughing with each other.  We saw things that reminded us of what we were missing by not being home, things like $5 Diet Cokes and vinyl covered chairs.  We knew that the next day would be about a night of little sleep and crunchy, already worn clothes.  

I read something a few days ago where a blogger reflected on his trip to visit his dying sister.  He wrote of the way the layover in one city smacked of the grief process that had already started, how it was about leaving one place and being stuck in another while waiting for the inevitable to happen.  

Reading his words, I was reminded of my own layover experience, where I just wanted to be home but was stuck.  And I quickly saw how grief is like that.  

How I really just want to be in another place but I'm not.  

How I'd like to be past the place where I'm teary every day.  

How I'd like to be at a place where I confidently say how wonderful heaven will be because I will see the people whom I love...without silently thinking in my head something about how much more I wished they were actually here on this earth.  

How I'd like to be in the place where I don't have to recognize that I get to walk away from my folks' house (and the in your face way death has invaded there) while my mom and brother deal with the aggressiveness of it all.  

How I'd like to be in a place where my kids are not cheated by so many losses.

How I'd like to be in the place where I see the eternal implications for the untimely deaths of my mother in law and dad, instead of just the big gaping holes.

In a lot of ways, I know that I will get to those places.  But the reality is, I'm not there nor will I be there soon.    

In the last few weeks, I have been the outsider as two friends have lost loved ones.  One cared for her sister -in-law as she died from cancer.  One lost a spouse due to a sudden stroke at a crazy young age.  I hope they know that it is okay to be stuck.  That stuck is part of the process.  That at some point, they will hopefully get unstuck.  But to get unstuck you may have to sit in an uncomfortable place, a place that is stiff and unfamiliar and full of injustice like the $5 soda.  You may have to whine and jealously want what others have.    You may have to take the crappy hotel voucher with a slightly fake smile, while thinking less than gracious thoughts inside your head.  You may have to get less sleep and just not be as put together as you'd like.  But the place where you just want to get to is there.  I know it's there.  Maybe it won't actually be the place where I think I am going but Our God promises it is there.  The God who keeps my tears in a bottle, the God who has engraved me on his palm, that God says it is there.  

""This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21 - 23


Miss Alissa said...

I love you, praying always.

christiancari said...

I'm not sure we ever get "unstuck" per say. Nothing is ever the same. It's just a new "normal" eventually. And it's ok. But I'll never forget how it felt to lose my mom. Which is probably a good thing. I think I'm much more sympathetic than I used to be.

kayder1996 said...

Cari-Maybe not unstuck in the sense that we get to go back to the way things were but unstuck in the sense of not feeling the battle of grief every day? Between hormones and lots of other things, these last two days have just kicked my hiney on the grief front. And I think there's also a component of grieving who you used to be. While I am more sympathetic to those with cancer or who have lost a spouse/parent or who just are going through cruddy stuff, I am also more cynical and pessimistic. Not quite as Pollyanna as I used to be and that part I don't like. Too much yucky stuff in my life lately has made me a bit like Job's friend who uttered "as surely as sparks fly upwards, man was born to suffering".