It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. And for a while it was because I didn’t have time. I was busy with school, extracurricular activities, and AP exams.
And other times, I would sit down at the computer open a draft, tears stinging my eyes that were raw from exhaustion, pain and sorrow. I would write in unhealthy anger and uncontrolled fury, feeling so uninspired and dull, delete the post draft and then shut my computer.
I can’t tell you how many times this has happened in the last couple of months. I’m not back on my blog because my life is anymore “put together” and things are fluffy and nice than it was a couple months ago, but rather because I’ve realized that I’ve come to the end of myself.
I’m writing this post because I’m tired. I feel like my heart is being clenched and torn raw when I hold my phone frozen to my ear as I listen to the sobs of my best friend who just found out that her Mom has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’m sober as I pull a black dress over my head, sit through the service, and offer what little words of comfort that I can to a family that’s hurting deeply. I’m angry when I open the news and find that a 5-year-old girl was tortured to death by her own parents and that the police came too late to save her. I’m speechless as I stand in front of the TV watching a tsunami wave washing over and engulfing a remote fishing town in Bangladesh. I’m tired of seeing this world so broken.
I’m aching. I’m hurt. I miss places that I can’t return to. I long for people that, as the time passes, only become shadows and glimmers of a memory. I miss Lebanon. I miss the Bekaa Valley dust on my lips. I miss the strong mint tea in chipped porcelain cups. I miss the little boy who runs ahead of me, nimbly with bare feet and laughs because he’s wearing my blue sunglasses that can’t even fit on his head. I miss the bright, humid classrooms filled with children eager to ask you questions to practice their English. A little girl with a bright pink outfit stared intensely at me, so I asked, “Ma Ism’ak?” or “What’s your name?” in Arabic. She didn’t respond, but giggled and turned away. I wonder about people who probably don’t remember me. I wonder how their stories unfolded.
Maybe you are exactly where I am. You don’t feel filled with joy, but you don’t feel like you’re at rock bottom. You just feel bland, unused and aching. I’ve found that it’s fruitful to be honest about where you are, and not to sugar-coat or ignore the aching problems that are beneath the surface. A fruitful life is not one that is without suffering, but one that has responded to suffering in the strength of God’s grace, hope and mercy.
Last Sunday’s worship at my church was beautiful. We sang a song called “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” by an artist named Sandra McCracken. Since I play violin in the worship band, I got to hear it a week earlier and practice it. The lyrics express this deep pain and suffering that we see the World and ourselves go through, but also the joy of being invited to the Table to feast with our God and His people. I rarely write poetry, but the lyrics were so inspiring that I ended writing a short poem, that my worship leader, Johnny, asked me to read for the congregation. I wrote this based off of the passage Isaiah 55, where it talks about the ways that God provides good things for us, that even though we don’t know why or how, He always promises to be faithful and constant. God promises purpose in every season of our life, and I’m grateful that every day I can see it little by little.