My friend, JD, passed away earlier this month.
And I feel like I am reading the same script over and over again. I’ve lost count of how many loved ones I’ve lost. I try to believe the promises of our Father. I do. I try. Though grief has clouded my vision before — each time, actually — things are different for me this time.
It’s not because people don’t know what to say. It’s not because I’ve endured disappointment from The Church, either. And it’s not because I cannot make sense of yet another loss that, to me, makes no sense at all.
Divine wisdom defies human logic. That much I’m sure. And I suppose I have gotten used to that part.
But, I do feel like a boxer getting pummelled in a corner — and the crowd is cheering.
In my constant quest to find comfort, I have encountered endless tales written by those who claim to have been broken. And, if I am honest, I have seen some such people — in fact, many — dress up their testimonies with a grandiose glaze. They cite, in scant detail, only the most necessary ingredients of their story, discussing their difficulties like a waiter runs through the specials of the day; it’s a matter of procedure, of training. And instead of a passionate conviction of faith, I am fed a false ideology, an idolatry that foolishly demands the will of God bend to our own comfort in a fallen world.
But such grandiose testimonies alienate those of who are broken. We are isolated, and there are times I feel as though I have a deadly, contagious disease; it’s as if people cannot bear the thought of enduring what cannot be endured. I have not overcome the odds at all.
Our suffering is constant, and our struggles cannot be resolved with a delightful dressing. We do not hide from our pain, nor our anguish. When we are willing to accept our suffering — and I certainly am a most unwilling student — we do so because we know Christ Himself has suffered; He took no shortcuts to His Crown, and neither can we.