Summer nights

Overall it’s been such a fun summer – so different than last year when I was trying to figure out the newborn Bluebird and how to merge the old life and new life. This year she’s so funny, passionate and smart. She loves being outside and doing things with us. I love being her mom and the having all of these new experiences with her. I’m still trying to figure out how to merge the old life and the new life and mostly it feels like I’m not very successful. Weeks like this make it really apparent that things are so different now. I’m so different now.

One of my best friends lost her son on Monday afternoon. I saw the news headline about a horrible car accident that evening but didn’t know that it was our friends. I went to bed that night and then about 20 minutes later Good Cop came into the room with his phone, pointing to the screen. The names had been released and it was our friends’ kids, their daughter driving and their son in the back, and a terrible multi-car crash caused by a distracted driver. And their son was gone. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. It couldn’t be true – we had just seen all of them in the park, alive and smiling. I still can’t wrap my head around it today. I’m thinking in circles all day and night, round and round to go over the same things and hoping for a new result. There is just no making sense of it.

Mostly I just feel scared. I’m scared for my friends and the pain they’ll have for the rest of their lives. They will always walk with a limp no matter how much time passes. I don’t know how parents survive after losing their child. I know that they do, but I don’t know how, except for the grace of God. But I’m also scared of God. Every time I experience suffering firsthand or in the lives of people I love, I reconsider my theology. Eventually I always come to a place of trust that God is loving and he is near to the broken-hearted, but beyond that I don’t have a tight grip on anything. I have a very hard time believing that things like this are part of his perfect plan. I hear that often from people that are close to him, but it’s hard to agree. For sure, he knew that it would happen, and for sure he is capable of preventing it. And I can agree that he allows it. But to say that it was part of his plan implies that he intended it to happen, and I don’t think I can go there. He can use it and he’ll incorporate it into the plan of redemption and wholeness, but how can he initiate something like this? I feel like a weak Christian for not believing that he plans it all, good and bad. I have a hard enough time getting my heart to trust a God that allows suffering; I don’t think I have the stomach to trust one that causes horrible things like losing a child. For me there’s a big difference between causing it and allowing it. I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter because I trust him either way, whether he only allows it or actually causes it.

I don’t know. I’m not a theologian and I can hardly gather enough brain cells to pray coherently right now.

May God, who puts all things together,
    makes all things whole,
Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus,
    the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant,
Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd,
    up and alive from the dead,
Now put you together, provide you
    with everything you need to please him,
Make us into what gives him most pleasure,
    by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah.
All glory to Jesus forever and always!
    Oh, yes, yes, yes.

The other thing that makes me scared (aside from the pain of my friends and my trust in God) is knowing that we can lose our child just as easily. Or our spouse, or our parent or sibling or friend. Weeks like this make me want to stay home and do nothing except the basics. Limit the risks of accidents or sickness and protect ourselves as much as we can. I want to make a bargain with God that if I do such-and-such, he’ll keep all my people safe. But that’s not how it works, and it’s no way to live. That’s just fear. Fear is such a strong motivator! It gives you a feeling of control but it takes away your freedom to love. So I’m trying not to let my fear make the decisions this month.

And then there’s the biggest thing that makes me scared: not being able to be the friend that she’ll need. It’s selfish to think that way because it’s not about me right now. But I so want to be the right kind of friend. I want to be the first call, the one with the stuff to help her survive, the safe place to vent. I feel really guilty for getting hung up on that and I’m surprised by how much I’m thinking about it. I didn’t want to write about it. It is what it is, I guess – maybe this is how I’m trying to fix everything and get some control over these things that won’t be controlled. This week really highlighted how different life is now since the Bluebird got here. So much of what makes a deep friendship (spontaneity, time, long conversations, shared memories) is out of reach right now. No matter how I try to work around the potholes of my schedule, my baby, my emotional capacity, and my physical distance, the road is still awfully rough. I feel so tentative in my friendships. Not sure if I’m still welcomed if I can’t invest a lot right now – and it’s so apparent that I don’t have much to invest. Before, I was always intentional about being a good friend. I initiated a lot. Now I feel like the needy one, the one that needs special treatment, the outsider. That’s not the kind of friend you need when your world has changed. I’ll be the best friend that I can be in this new season, because it’s not about me. I really wish I could do more, be more.

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