I picked up this whopping stack of papers from my mom’s house yesterday evening. It’s been in a large envelope in a box on a shelf in my mom’s closet ever since she moved from Alaska to Texas almost a year and a half ago. Before that, it was in the loft of my parent’s house on my dad’s desk, virtually unopened and unread, except by me, right after his death nearly five years ago.
At the time, I think that was a mistake. I wasn’t ready to read all the details it contained so early in my grieving; that’s because it is my dad’s medical records from the five days leading up to him passing away. That’s right, that entire bundle is all about the occurrences of the last five days of his life here on Earth. One crazy thing after another is wrapped up in the particulars of medical charts and stats, descriptions of exploratory surgeries and procedures, and even my dad’s handwriting on things like the Medevac helicopter transfer waiver and such. It’s surreal.
As morbid as it may seem to some, I’m about to go through these papers again, this time for a very different purpose than my own “needing to know”. During the year after we lost my dad, I felt very strongly that I should write about our experience; in fact, I actually began writing, but I never got past a certain point. I hit one brick wall after another, which, looking back, I actually think was a really good thing. I have such a different perspective than I had then and more than anything, the Lord has changed my heart so much, I feel I have a lot more to say.
Recently, I’ve been sensing His leading in this area of my writing again and I started this new project several weeks ago. He’s made it so clear to me that I can’t refuse. As I began flipping through sheet after sheet of these records last night, so many emotions welled up inside of me and I just thought “God, what in the world am I doing?! I can’t handle this.” But he ever-so-gently reminded me what this project is going to be about: it’s about His love and faithfulness and light penetrating the darkness of life in this insane world. It’s not about all my family lost. It’s about allowing Him to use our painful experience to comfort and help other people.
I honestly am not sure what that’s going to look like at this point, but I’m confident that He will shape it into what it’s supposed to be. I want to encourage you to allow the Lord to show you ways that He wants to use your pain to bring hope to other people. We’ve all been through rough stuff, things we never imagined and experiences we didn’t think we could make it through.
BUT somehow, we’re still here. And I really believe it just takes a willing heart to let that pain be transformed into something really significant, like hope.