One year ago I found myself in a place of complete and utter brokenness. The tragedy that had befallen our family 6 months previous seemed to have a ripple effect. Monumental changes continued to hit me in rapid succession, shaking my world on it's already teetering axis. On March 22 of last year I handed over the keys of my business to it's new owner. It was a business born of a dream planted many years ago as a tiny seed and realized when the perfect building, along with other timely factors, became available. Laynee had become meshed into the pursuit of this dream as I envisioned her wiping tables, sweeping floors, and lableing packages, all the while charming customers in the way that was so uniquely Laynee. I looked forward to the day when Laynee and I would work side by side in my little coffee shop. The dream died along with my daughter and the building, which I had loved and passionately poured my personality into, became a haunting reminder of the abscence of laughter and little footsteps. Looking back to that day when I walked away from the business, as well as the dream, I know with great certainty, that those were the darkest days of this grief journey, the darkest days of my life. In hindsight, I can see that I stood on a precipice. I would make a choice. I would choose to cling to faith in a God whose hand I could not see and whose ways I could not understand or I would choose NOT to cling to faith and therefore, plunge over the edge into the desperate, proverbial hands of depression.
I had been cautioned by many about the sale of my business. I was advised not to make such an enormous decision in the throes of great emotion. Well meaning people worried about what I would do without my business occupying my time. It was suggested that surely my love for this business could return in time and that, rather than dying with Laynee, it could become her legacy. In truth, I too worried. Would I find reason to get out of bed each day without a business that demanded my presence? Yet there was a knowing, an absolute certainty that God had orchestrated an unlikely set of circumstances resulting in the whirlwind sale. Somehow, in the midst of all the chaos, I knew that His mighty hand was at work.
When I remember back to those days, I recall it as one standing on the outside looking in, as though watching a scene unfold upon a screen. My body went through the motions of selling the business while my mind stepped away, focusing on one thing.....surviving traumatic injury of the soul. In recent days I have gone back and read the blog posts from that time. There, written between the lines of my own words, is proof that God held me close even in the darkest of days. He gently and patiently pullled me back to him, over and over again.
As I reflect upon this post, I realize that it was in this darkest point of my life that I learned the most valuable lesson of all time. I am nothing without Christ and I have nothing to bring to him but my heart. I have no gifts, talents, skills or possessions that God needs. This is a truth that, on a cerebral level, I have always known but, until now, had never fully integrated into my daily life.
Grief has freed me of any self appointed obligations that I may have once had to live up to the expectations of others. It has taught me to live without agenda or aspirations. What I am finding is that somewhere along the course of this journey I have learned to live by simply being.
CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.