I could have written about the stillness of early morning, when the birds haven’t even woken up and it’s just me, my cup of coffee, and the quiet. I could have written about a state of mind, the idea of serenity, the way we talk about “being still” as a way to listen to ourselves.
I actually wrote most of a post about “still” as it applies to my toddler daughter, functionally incapable of even grasping the concept.
I tried a few different ways to be funny. I’m better at funny – it comes more easily to me to write with a dry humor, putting myself at a little bit of a distance from my subject.
None of it seemed to work.
Instead, I’ve decided to write about tenacity and the “still, small voice” after the fire. It’s not about motherhood exactly, I guess, except that I’m only a mother as much as I’m a daughter, too.
We get so many things wrong about grief, sometimes. In our rush to have something comforting to say to someone who has just been dealt a terrible blow (whether it’s a natural disaster destroying their home, losing a loved one, being diagnosed, or anything else so abruptly life-changing), we rely on a platitude I truly hate – the idea that something that happened was “God’s plan.”
When my father died very suddenly in September, I heard every variation there is on his death being all just a part of the greater plan.
It was always said in hushed, sympathetic tones, by those who truly meant well and simply didn’t know what else to say. I know that there are those for whom it’s a comfort to believe in a God who directs and ordains even the death of an Illinois farmer on a beautiful harvest-weather day. Even if it’s the kind of death that means I hugged my father goodbye after he was here to see me in August and then will never hug him on this side of heaven again.
While I appreciated every single person who really just wanted to give us whatever they could to help, while I was grateful for every show of support we were given… I cannot accept their conclusions.
God is not in the death of my father. God did not direct its details or somehow plan out the kind of wrenching pain that followed.
I think of “still” and I think… we are still here. God is still the voice that tells us we can and we must keep on moving, life does not wait, and the world has not ended.
God is not in the earth giving way, or the earthquake that tumbles rocks into the sea, but the handhold we use to climb back up the cliff.
God is not in the loss, but the still, small voice that reminds us that life is not over. God is not my grief. God is in the way my daughter reminds me every moment that joy is still here, it did not leave with him.
That he didn’t really leave at all.
The still voice of God says, your father is not gone.
He’s here, still, and so are you. So is she.
So am I.
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