I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that were to come after the funeral. Yesterday I experienced a sense of relief. The pressures that had subconsciously been on me to honor her life well, were gone. The “events” are all over. The is a good and scary place to be at the same time. A time to take a deep breath at what is passed and to buckle up for the unknown months ahead. This is when everyone starts to go on with their lives and you are stuck and numb, confused at how to “go back to normal.” That’s because you can’t go back to normal. This is when it’s time to throw the word “normal” out the window because it doesn’t exist anymore.
We got together with some good friends today and it was really good to be with them. They didn’t say anything wrong or make it hard in any way. They were exactly what we needed them to be; ready to talk about Karis if we did or ready to talk “small talk” if it was better to get our mind off of everything. But for some reason it was still hard. Kory and I still found ourselves spacing out and feeling disconnected from what was going on around us. You start to wonder if life will ever feel normal again. Is feeling disconnected my new normal? Not only is it hard to not feel normal, it’s hard to see your spouse not feeling normal. It’s one thing to grieve yourself and it’s another thing to watch your spouse suffer and grieve. Today was a hard day for Kory. It’s hard to watch your husband grieve the loss of his daughter.
Now that the “events” are over, everything seems so final. This is how the story ends. No miracle. No surprise to the doctors. No proving science wrong. She is gone.
It’s easy to be a believer when God gives you a miracle. In John 11, right before Jesus heals Lazarus he is weeping, taking in how much death hurts and affects those he loves. The people watching him are confused. “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37) In the book I’ve been reading, the author talks about this verse that the people weren’t questioning whether or not Jesus could heal, they were expressing their curiousity about why He didn’t. That’s where I find myself today. Do I believe God could of healed Karis, absolutely. But why didn’t he? And the answer to that is and will always be, I don’t know.
But what I’m learning more of is I don’t have to know. There is a safe place with the Lord where we don’t have to have all of the answers, and I will rest in that place. So many Christians expect God to work neatly and wrap up each hurt with a bow and make it all better. But I have been invited into a story of God’s that did not end with a bow. In fact there are a lot of holes and gaps into why he is allowing certain things to happen. But I choose to press into those gaps, not afraid, but confident that God is big enough to handle my limited views, struggles and doubts.
In the book “Hiding Place,” Corrie Ten Boom is with her father asking him something that was a little too mature for her to understand……
“He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifting his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
“It’s too heavy,” I said.
“Yes,” he said “And I would be a pretty poor father who would ask his daughter to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied- wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions- for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.”
And that’s where I rest today, knowing that all the answers to my hard questions are in my father’s keeping.
Karis has taught me to understand God’s miracles in such a new way. Often times we think of a miracle much like God tying a big bow and saying “happily ever after.” We are so used to every movie ending that way, but life just doesn’t. God has taught me what true miracles are through Karis’s life. True miracles are all around me if I choose to see them. Karis is a miracle, her life and her legacy. Avery is a miracle. My marriage is a miracle. My faith is a miracle. The ministry God has allowed us to be apart of is a miracle. The kids I get to love on everyday are miracles. Jesus Christ is my ultimate miracle. That we can have life after death…..what beautiful miracles. They aren’t “happily ever afters,” they will be hard at times, but they are miracles given by a loving God who sees, hears and knows his children. We are invited into abundant miracles, daily.
In the book, “I Will Carry You,” Angie brings up a scripture that I have never read before. In 2 Samuel 12, King David finds out his infant son has died. King David says, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam. 12:19-23).
She will not return to me. The reality of those words cut deep into my heart. For whatever reason, one I will not try to understand, God will not allow Karis to ever return to us. But my God is gracious and loving, and he, oh yes, he will allow us to go to them. And that is a miracle.