When things are just too much

A thundercloud mounts a towering anvil of peach grandeur against the backdrop of the torrents of gray rain falling on one side of the horizon and the pink sun just kissing the hilltops on the other. We are driving home from a baseball game, rag dolls bouncing along in the humid air with OneRepublic blaring from the iPhone to keep Amy content. 

The kids and I cleaned house today, trying to progress ever closer to our goal of organized and simple (and mostly failing dismally). We basked in the hot sun together. Smelled wildflowers. Cuddled kittens. 

Being in grieving, for any reason, is like walking on a road full of mud puddles. If the road were dry, you'd spot every pot hole. But with standing water everywhere, it looks deceptively flat. You're so excited to go dance in the puddles, and you never know when one will take you by surprise and land you on your butt in the mud because it is deeper than it looks.

And so the alien landscape that you find yourself suddenly plunged into when something goes drastically wrong in your family. Amelia was complaining of pain when walking together, and walking stiffly. I laid her in my lap like a wee babe, and felt her legs, then, with more trepidation, her groin. Sure enough, 8 or 9 new hard lumps on both sides that weren't there the day before.

I was in the middle of loading the dishwasher. Ants were threatening to carry away the children's morning cereal bowls. The cats on the porch yowled for cream. Rosy wanted her hair braided, Caleb a new game on the iPhone, Katy just some time to visit. But I put it all down. All of it. And I went to my bed, and I held my baby girl.

I stroked her hair, her hair that defies description, the multi-faceted gold of it like some kind of miraculous weaving, the stubborn way it curls in the back and is wavy in the front, the flip on each side like a little Dutch girl painting. I stroke her hair and the tears stream down my face.

I cannot face losing that beautiful hair.

And so I picked up my phone and I called a friend while I held my girl - the kind of friend who's been in a well of grief so much deeper than any you've known that she never questions, belittles, or tries to understand your grief. The kind of friend who knows it's you when you can't even stutter out your name because all of your air is being held hostage by the sobbing. The kind of friend who doesn't say it will be fine, or tell you of course it's not cancer. She is just sorry - she doesn't know yet what she's sorry for but for now she's sorry that Amy has lumps and that I am afraid and that is enough. And when we say our goodbyes, she says this is just too much.

And it is. It is just too much. Too much for me, too much for doctors, too much for preachers, and too much for faith. These are the times when Christ holds me, Christ seeks me, Christ comforts me. I am not the active participant in this part of the faith journey, walking with him on the garden paths. I am prostrate on the floor in a puddle of tears and sobs and no words, and He is simply there with me. And He says, too, this is just too much. The only difference is that He adds an ending to that sentence: and so I have overcome.

While I cannot squelch or ignore or decide not to grieve over Amy - Amy's hair, Amy's health, all this fear that we have to grapple with suddenly - I also must remember that there is no loss so deep that He cannot catch her.

I say it again, to reassure myself, that when my faith runs out, His grace will overflow...

There is no loss so deep He cannot catch me.

Please post this blog button all over the internet and rally prayer for my daughter as we face the uncertainty, grief and fear of the coming weeks.