Heather's Hope: Confessing My Blindness in the Valley of Suck

I can’t see.

Blind jokes aside (and I do have a vision impairment...No comments Wayne L!), I heard this morning in my soul the confession in the breath prayer I am praying this week ("Light of Life, I can't see. Be light to my feet").  I wrote this prayer but it is the nature of prayers you pray repeatedly, you may, in time, hear meaning you missed.

I thought I was just admitting I did not know what was next in my life, in my next day, or in the next hour.  Today I heard the confession - not only can I not “see” what is next; there is nothing I can do about it either. My confession is this: I have been trying to see and manipulate the future for far too long.  

I think it is one of the struggles of being in my faith tradition - we Methodist-Wesleyans have a difficult time with God’s sovereignty.  We like to talk about free will so much (really God’s free grace) and we turn into a scared cat when we get around Calvinists.  But we can’t miss or ignore the Scripture reality that God is sovereign.  At times I even wonder if God has issues with being sovereign too?  I’m just gonna leave that alone right now too.

When I wrote yesterday, I wrote about the “one-year” mark for those dealing with grief. As I said, I’m not against it.  It is a good caution and boundary for us who are grieving intently…


We ought to not take it too far.  We need to come to know ourselves.  My observation is, we don’t really want to know ourselves. Moral development theories confirm we'd rather not really go too far toward self-reflection.  We talk really good games with this subject.  In our “spiritual but not religious” society, the truth is, we’re becoming neither.  We go to our therapists but many of us will struggle and procrastinate or stall altogether on doing any real interior work.  

This may be part of what C.S. Lewis was getting at when he wrote, “The sins of the flesh are bad, but are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred” (102, “Mere Christianity).”  We’d prefer to keep EVERYTHING on the surface and ignore what lies underneath.  Let's keep the conversation surface level and ignore the deeper needs.

We’re all “Rich Fools” from the lectionary text this week (see Luke 12:13-21).  We count our stuff and our days like we own them.  We don’t.  Get over it.  Deal with it.

However it works best for you, you and I need to get to the place we can see that we can’t see.  This is why I am not counting the days since my wife’s death.  Everyone is different, right? Then I know, for me, this won’t help me grieve.  As I have looked at pictures, watched Heather’s legacy video for our kids, read from her journals and found notes, one of the profound legacies Heather left was this:

Heather had hope.

But her's was not some warm fuzzy, nostalgic, pie-in-the-sky kinda hope. It wasn't the hope of 6-year-old waiting for the ice cream truck to come by on a summer day in Georgia. Some of her journal entries share her struggles and wrestlings with God.  In our conversations together and in her prayers, she was so full of passion and hope for her children, her church, for me, for our family, for others.

I know for some, there is a tendency for counting the days since death. For me, I do not find hope in counting the days. I have not and I can’t.  We all grieve differently right?  So then, I will do it in my way.  I will mark anniversaries as they come but Heather’s hope was always for a new day, for a new life, and for resurrection.  Hope does not mean I can see tomorrow, hope means I believe tomorrow is coming.

I confess, it will be hard to stop manipulating tomorrow but if I’m to have hope, I will try and when I fail, I will confess I cannot see.  But I can believe and I can hope.  In the valley of suck, hope is the stream that trickles down the rocks.  Even a drop can sustain for years and confessing our blindness can be good for the soul.

Images used by permission http://www.freeimages.com/photo/blind-leading-blind-1239882 , http://www.freeimages.com/photo/ice-cream-break-1533198


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