A pastor friend of mine once told me of one of his first pastoral visits. A woman in the church had become widowed far too early in life.
The pastor was heading over to visit with her. He had his seminary training in his back pocket. He had Scripture verses of comfort memorized and ready to share. He was confident he would bring comfort and hope. He got there...did all the professional pastoral moves that he had been trained on. And the woman feigned gratitude for the visit. As he was wrapping up his theologically and pastorally successful first visit, a great friend of the grieving widow came. She embraced her friend fiercely and just said, "Damn" over and over.
The woman would later tell the pastor candidly that while his visit was appreciated, it didn't have nearly the value as her friend who simply cussed.
To be sure, there are many things we can do as God's people to care for the hurting and heartbroken and maybe swearing isn't the most edifying of options...
But sometimes things are lousy. Yes there is grace. There is unconditional love. There is relentless hope. I have cemented my life into these truths. That Jesus can make ashes into beauty. That he can make dead hearts beat again. That with Him, the worst thing is never the last thing.
But there is also the reality that things aren't the way they are meant to be and while hope and beauty and love are absolutely and completely true in Jesus, there's also the reality that things can be really really lousy.
Had a "Damn" moment today.
Chaia still has a pseudo tumor in her head that is putting pressure on her optic nerve. The pressure has been quite high and the thought was if increased doses of meds didn't do the trick, we would have to be more aggressive to save her eyesight.
Today was the day to find out the pressure levels from eye doctor. Results are that the pressure is still too high.
So, it looks like we're heading toward another procedure or two at the Cleveland Clinic. Big question is fenestration or shunt, which we'll figure out after meeting with neurologists in two weeks.
But in the meantime, Shaina and I saw the cloud of weariness return today. We will do what we have to do. That's the calling of perseverance. It's the calling of parenthood. And we will cling to hope, because He has shown Himself immensely faithful throughout generations and throughout our story.
But there is ache in this story.
Ache to know that this little lady who has been a fearless overcomer has to suit up for another battle. Sure the battle is relatively minor compared to the other fights she has been in, but frustrating nonetheless.
Ache to know that even when things are relatively good, there's still a caveat.
Ache where your expectations don't match up with your experiences.
Ache to know that the healing we've pleaded for is already but not yet.
You don't have to have a kiddo go through something like this to know this ache. This melancholy. This sadness.
And I think the word I want to share with you in that ache is two fold.
Damn (because things aren't the way they should be).
The best is yet to come (because He holds the future in His hands and His hands are good, secure, and strong.)