About my serious side

Not to break the spell or spoil the fun, but you've probably figured out my real name isn't Dummy.

The CTD Diaries is my playground. No one tells the truth in their diaries anyway so I figured I should find another place to get real, where the head lights aren't so bright. I originally thought this would be a good place to post my creative writing, but I think this is just a good place to tell the truth.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Room Where We Belong

I have to do this--seize this moment, capture it, even though I don't want to. I would rather laugh and hide and play than face pain, but when I face it I must record it or else I know I'll have to face it again and again until I record it properly.

I've been working on a response to my brother's comments about my truth post, but I need to interupt myself to write about the room where we belong.

This weekend I attended the funeral for a little 3 year old boy who died last Friday night after getting a piece of plastic lodged in his throat.

I have dreaded this funeral all week even though I generally enjoy funerals more than weddings. It's an oddity, I know, but I can't help it. I blame it on the fact that I'm a photographer and long to capture emotional truth. Weddings are just the beginning of a long hard struggle. Funerals are the end (before the page turns and a new struggle begins). At weddings love is bliss, but it's also ignorant. At funerals love is refined. It has already endured and solidified. Each embrace is filled, not with passion and excitement, but with compassion and reverance.

A child's funeral though . . . an unlived life . . . how do you offer condolences for that? How do you console the inconsolable?

That's not my gift.

All I can do is capture it. So capture it I must.

Thomas Jefferson, who lived a long and full life, lost nearly everyone he whole heartedly loved by the time he was 40 years old, but when asked if he would live life over again he said, YES! He loved life. But he said there was one thing he couldn't figure out about life--the meaning of grief.

It's an age old question/problem. The best and worst minds and hearts have grappled endlessly over it.

I keep a little book in my nightstand by C.S. Lewis called A Grief Observed. It's a candid journal of his reflections immediately after his wife died. The whole book is a desperate attempt to make sense of his grief, but waxing philosophical about pain doesn't ease it.

He says, "there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it. It doesn't really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist's chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on."

He says, "Reality, looked at steadily, is unbearable." But he also says, "You can't see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears."

It's impossible to make sense of our sorrows while we're sorrowing.

But those who have transcended their sorrows can crack a door for us or strike a match.

I wish Thomas Jefferson could have read some of the beautiful comforting words published about why we suffer, including this excerpt from a James E. Faust conference address:

“Here then is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is a part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.”

One of the speakers at the funeral talked about getting and keeping a firm grip on the eternal truths and perspective we've been given and then shared a story about a little boy who was about to die. He asked his parents what it would feel like to die and his mother thought for minute before answering him like this:

"You know how you fall asleep on the couch sometimes and then you wake up the next morning in your own room? That's because your father scoops you up in his arms and carries you to your room. That's what dying will be like. You'll fall asleep with us and then your Heavenly Father will come and scoop you up in his arms and take you back to the room where you belong."


OldBoatGuy said...

I hesitate to be the first to comment. Crash, that is so profound. I love your serious side as much as your funny side.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Sobbing. That's all. Just sobbing. The ones who die have it easy. The ones who grieve--well, we can't hope to have all that Christ has without experiencing grief. I hate to claim to know something C.S. didn't know (or didn't think he knew) but that's the bare-faced truth of it (only J. Faust said it much better).

Youngblood4ever said...

Wait, I'm tearing a little...That was beautiful! I have a friend who has lost 2 daughters, one was 5 the other was 15- from the same disease. These are comforting words I want to share with her. You are awesome!

Mariko said...

So sad. So sad.
I really can't say more than that.

Kritta22 said...

WOW! First post I read and you make me cry!

I am LoW said...


No words.....

Eric-n-Ali said...

I read this a while ago but was unable to respond.

I love the image "That's what dying will be like. You'll fall asleep with us and then your Heavenly Father will come and scoop you up in his arms and take you back to the room where you belong." I remember after a long drive home, pretending to be asleep so Dad would carry me into our house. How sad that those simple moments are lost for this child's father, like they are for us in the opposite way.

I can not comprehend how my arms would ache to hold one of my little ones in a situation like that.

Thanks for sharing!