[From the archives]
‘My daughter shot herself. She was seventeen.’
She says it to me over pastries and coffee – in the break between sessions at a women’s event in Tzaneen – with the matter-of-fact sobriety that comes from walking through grief. She tells me how beautiful and vivacious her daughter was. How somehow the lie had seeped and settled into her young bones – that life wasn’t worth the living.
I’m in this place for the weekend to speak, but I have no words for her.
I drive home slow and quiet through the mist of Magoebaskloof, keeping my eyes on a metre of wet tar that edges out in front of my car to push back the blanket. I put on my hazards and hope that what I can’t see can see me.
I think, Faith is kind of like driving through mist. We can’t see what’s coming but we edge onwards anyway because we know the mist has to clear sometime and there’ll be open road somewhere ahead.
I think about the day we dedicated Cameron to God. He was exactly five months old, and blind. I think about how often I used to explain cataracts to people – that our baby was driving through mist all the time. I wrote about that time –
When I look back on the days and weeks following Cam’s diagnosis, they flash silent and disconnected like a slow-motion movie scene. People caught in an explosion. Screams but no soundtrack. Bodies smashed against glass. A shattering catching light.
So I don’t remember much about that Sunday morning. Just three things. I remember how my mom cried, and how the whole church bent in threes and fours and there was this whispered chorus of prayer for our boy. And I remember we sang –
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
Three days after his dedication, Cameron was wheeled into theatre for his first cataract surgery. I wrote –
The theatre doors closed and I wept like my soul had snapped. Because my hope had been wheeled into that theatre and I didn’t know if it would come out whole.
And here we are. Years of being stretched on the faith rack in ways we would never have imagined or planned for. Years of unfair, uncertain, difficult and sometimes devastating bits of life happening. Fat, full, happy years that we would never, ever, swap for anything.
So – I just felt to send so much love and courage today to you, if you’re staring down the barrel of a gun at a future that holds no promise. None of us knows what may lurk on just the next page of the stories our kids are living. None of us knows what the world will look like a decade from now, or round the bends of tomorrow’s misted road.
But we know that our Creator-King is on the throne, and He is faithful. We know that His mercies are new every morning and that He answers parental prayers for wisdom. We know that He has our kids on their own journeys, and there’s grace enough for the steps they’re taking into a future we won’t necessarily live to see.
We know that our kids can face uncertain days, because He lives. And friend, life is worth the living. Oh, it is so very much worth the living.
Your faithfulness extends to every generation…
. . .
Please share this post with your people, if you think it may clear a little mist?
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