Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arms embracing us

"Always remember: you have arms embracing you. If you feel like you are falling, go ahead and fall. They will catch you, and lift you back up."

Thus spake my sister in law, Lisa, now paralyzed for 6 years, to our friend whose 19 year old son has just died. I hugged and listened. Lisa didn't waste niceties on a mother whose world has been shattered. Lisa spoke immediately and directly to the most important point. Because of Lisa's own suffering, her words carried extra authority. I thought, in the first moment, Lisa was speaking of helpful friends. In the very next moment, I realized Lisa was speaking of God.

Lisa is a 7th grade teacher. She teaches a full schedule of classes. I wrote about her here.

We also spoke with the grandmother of the deceased. One of my favorite women in the world, and surely one of the most beautiful grandmothers in the world, she lost her own beautiful 18 year old daughter, and has now lost a 19 year old grandson - her oldest grandchild - with whom she was extremely close.

My grandmother friend is a strong Christian. She asked us to pray for her, because she is so angry with God. I asked if she has read C.S. Lewis. She has.

C.S. Lewis never married until his late 40s. He then lost his wife after only 5 or 6 or 7ish years of marriage. C.S. Lewis became angry with God, and began to question his own faith. He continued being angry and skeptical for an extended period (a couple years, as best I recall, but I'm not looking it up tonight) - even writing a book about his anger and his doubt. Lewis wrote that anger at God, and doubt about God, are perfectly natural - even healthy, and ought not be avoided. Lisa agreed that anger and doubt are natural, and ought not be stifled, but rather ought be worked through to resolution. "God is strong enough to handle anger and doubt", she said.

Sometimes, I think, we are reticent to be angry at God. We might believe, intellectually, God doesn't deserve our anger, and thus we stifle and deny heartfelt feelings of despair and fury. Or, we might know we need God on our side, and we might fear that - if we are angry with God - He will abandon us when we need him most.

He will never abandon us. He will catch us when we fall, and lift us back up. He is strong enough to handle our despair, fury, and doubt.


Southern Brother said...

I am Stat Boy of ESPN PTI fame that corrects Kornheiser and Wilbon on their errors....1)you're behind a year....time flies when your having fun....not five but six years post injury...Dec. 27, 2002...2) Currently she is teaching 7th grade Reading and English, (not sixth) after ten years of teaching eighth graders.

gcotharn said...

Thanks! Corrected.