Sunday, November 10, 2013

Getting Back to Faith & Trust

When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I teach in the English departments at Indiana University South Bend and Indiana Tech by day, but by night...I'm a writer.  What I mean when I say that is that writing is what I identify with.  It's who I am.  It's not only what I do but it's how I express myself, and every poem or piece I write contains a piece of me.  I'm an introvert, and it isn't easy for me (or any introvert, for that matter) to express myself to other people, but through writing, I feel like I can do almost anything.  It's the way I cope with and see the world.  It's a part of me. 

And this is why I'm writing today.  My heart has been so heavy lately and I finally asked myself why I haven't been writing it all out.  After all, it's my coping mechanism.  Lately, I can't help but feel like I'm on I'm expecting something bad to happen.  Like the world isn't fair.  Like I've been cheated.

I know so many people are going through so many horrible and devastating things in their lives right now.  I know that, in the grand scheme of things, I have no right to complain about my life.  But I'm going to put all this out there with the hope that it will help me see some positivity and light in situations that I have felt very sad about.  I know God can bring us through something terrible and show us something brilliant in the end.  He's done it before, and I'm trying to remember that he's working now.

When I was 17 years old, my father almost died in a serious accident - an accident that my then 9-year-old brother witnessed.  As you can guess, I coped with the situation of watching my once strong father deteriorate both physically and mentally and my young, sweet brother's brain affected by the horrors of trauma by writing.  The doctors gave my father a 1% chance of survival, but God brought us through that and he survived.  But nothing has ever been the same.  My dad just had his third spinal surgery this past Monday, 7 years after the original accident and he continues to struggle with a multitude of health issues.  My father survived the unsurvivable, and I thank God every single day that we still have him with us.  But why do things like that have to happen to begin with?  Why did my sweet brother have to struggle through years of reliving that trauma?  Why did we all have to watch my father spend months in the hospital in rehabilitation for a broken neck, back, and traumatic brain injury?  Why do we have to watch him suffer through epilepsy? 

I often think of my father when I think of what happened with my grandmother this past summer.  My grandmother was an amazing woman and one of my most precious friends in the whole world.  I could tell her anything.  She had been sick for quite some time, and on July 31st, 2013, she passed away in the same hospital my dad was in when he had his accident, just a few rooms away from where we watched over him and prayed for healing in 2006.  It wasn't one of those situations where the hospital called to tell us that she had passed.  As a family, we had to make the decision to stop life support.  We arrived at the hospital around 9:30pm on the 30th and she was taken off life support shortly after.  What followed was an excruciating night of watching my grandmother's vitals slowly drop off until she stopped breathing around 5:35 early the following morning.  I held her hand and was surrounded by my mother, my uncle, my husband, and my brother (the same one that witnessed my dad's accident).  It was one of the most awful experiences of my life.  Nobody should ever have to see anything like that and, honestly, I don't think I've fully coped with it yet.  I keep telling myself that I'm too young to already have a grandparent gone.  My grandma Nancy was the best grandma in the world.  I miss her.  I miss her stories.  I miss our talks.  I just wish I had had more time with her. 

There are very few people I can truly talk to in this world (one of the side effects of being an introvert).  But there are/were always three people I could count on - my husband, my grandma, and my best friend, Dee.  Dee and I grew up together.  We went to college together, roomed together for four years in college, and moved in together after we graduated.  We have been through it all together.  We have taken the most amazing trips together.  She was the maid of honor in my wedding.  She is more than a friend, she is my sister.  And this past year has been heartbreaking for her.  In April, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  She had three major brain surgeries in the months of April and May to alleviate pressure and remove the portions of the tumor they could get to, but her prognosis is not what we were all hoping for.  I can't possibly imagine what she is feeling through all this, but her strength has been absolutely astonishing.  Her faith in God has not wavered once.  In fact, her reliance on and faith in God has grown through this.  I wish I could grasp that level of faith.  I desperately pray for God to take away her illness, to make her well again, to let her have her old life back.  It's the same desperation I felt with my dad and my grandma.  That selfish desperation that something is being taken away from me.  My heart breaks daily when I think of what has happened to her.

But when did I stop believing in God's plan and have more faith in my own?  When did I stop fully trusting him and his ultimate plan?  God wasn't surprised by any of the things that have happened in my life.  He's got it under control.  He loves me and he loves my dad, my grandma, and Dee. 

So how can I get that faith back?  That trust?  How can I stop feeling like everything that matters to me in this world will be taken away by illness, accidents, etc?