Lost & Found
Grief is alive.
It’s a living creature that hides, and unexpected triggers reveal it. As I write this, I am sitting below a large painting of two horses. It’s one of my very own unexpected triggers. Like the tears that come when they want to old memory’s emerge without warning. A memory of my sister riding a shiny palomino flashes through my mind.
Heaven gave me the gift of two sisters. They both loved horses. The eldest was very influential throughout the stages of my life. As I sit here my memory stretches back to long car rides with her blaring techno music, the sweet smell of tobacco, her short black hair and vodka in her 7-up. I studied her so much I can even remember the shape of her ears, the cowlick on the back of her head, her fingers, her scars, the way her skin felt and the ferocity of her spirit.
While I took on the roll as her annoying little sister she stood in the lime light. At one time in my life I wanted to be her. I wanted her to hear all I had to say. I remember laying in the sunshine next to her. Our skin was lathered in baby oil. When I touched her arm she would move away from me impatiently. She hated it when our oily arms touched. I wonder if I ever did it on purpose. In this particular memory I shared with her that some day I wanted to be a writer. Her response, which I now know I took for granted, was one of exclamatory support. She never doubted it even though the years went by and I didn’t even choose to write.
Since I was small my sister would tell me that God had a special person for me. She would encourage me in different stages of my life about this very thing. She said she just knew it. On one occasion after a series of heartbreaks and rejections my sister sat with me on her couch and held me. We watched Freddy Prince Jr Movies, and lamented about love together. I remember her strong thin arms wrapped around me as I cried. Our fingers stained from Doritos. She called me Nay. She spoke life over my broken dreams, and pulled out of me a desire for more. She was ok with my broken state but she didn’t keep me there. She held me up to a different standard because of her love for me.
Life took us each on a journey and it took its toll on both of us in various ways. I journeyed on to nursing school and found Christianity. She moved through some deeply abusive relationships and found herself in the snare of addictions.
When the time had come and I had finally met the man that I was willing to “run down the isle for” she was elated. She asked me to take her shopping, and to help her buy a dress. She was worried because she had nothing to wear. While I was busy begging my other sister to come, she begged for me to just invite her. While one sister said no the other said please. While I sent out carefully prepared invites she waited for me to honour her.
Because of my fears I saw her as a problem. She was to me someone to be avoided and I felt varying levels of shame regarding her. I made excuses for my actions telling myself things like “someone else will bring her if she is supposed to come,” and “I need to have safe boundaries.”
At my wedding the tables were full of finely dressed people. they told stories of how loving I was and how I affected them in some way. When the time came for me to hold her on the couch and remind her who she was I failed. Instead, I looked at her mess and declared it over her.
Death destroys my reasons.
Somehow all the boundaries I set up to protect myself have faded leaving in their place the realities of loves lack. Love is supposed to be radical. Isn’t that the main point of it? Because of love the King of heaven stooped down low to take on the flesh of lowly humanity! Because of love a mother will reach into the fires of life to save her baby(s). Love isn’t about me it’s about you! It’s a reaching outwards with a disregard for self. Love is more powerful than my fears. It would have wrapped itself around her and maybe I would have been saved in some way.
“We overlook the broken
And discard the poor
While we celebrate the rich
And the beautiful
With a wide open door”
You speak for me Toby Mac. I just want to say “I’m Sorry”! I’m Sorry (a lament) is a song by Toby Mac. Make sure you check it out on iTunes.