I'm really not like this

I find myself saying this, a lot.

This person you see, I'm really not like this. I'm not confused. I don't get lost in the middle of conversations, I don't loose my purse, my keys, my ideas. I don't make dumb mistakes. I know your name. I don't send people the wrong information, use the wrong words. This is not me.

I remember numbers, facts, statistics, bits of data. I plan huge events, with one hand tied behind my back. I remember their name, their wife's name, and how old their kids are. I'm fearless in large groups. I sparkle. I'm witty. I'm a great cook, I can see what the next steps are, I can follow a complicated knitting pattern. Need something researched, analyzed - I'm your woman. Got a system that's not working? I'll correct it. This problem is impossible? That's ok, I'll have the solution developed before sunrise, and implemented before sundown.

Sure, I can chair a board, have a huge garden, volunteer, take my project management certification and be pregnant with violent nausea, all at the same time. I can do these things.

People tell me that I'm brave. They tell me I must have strong faith. They assume that I am still the same person. Some weeks ago I had words with a friend. I started to cry. He offered to tell my boss that I was upset, that I had to go home.

But this: the world of sudden tears and intense pain, it is my world. It is the road I walk on. And there is no home, no haven. No place to escape. I put one foot in front of the other. I am broken and will never again be in one piece. Part of me will always be with Gabriel.

I am astounded by people who are so convinced that they have all the answers, that they are "experts" in anything. Who think they have any answers. Who are unwilling to listen to the voice, the experience, the stories, the questions of others. Who think that they know everything because they have experience. Who do not want to listen to the voice of the dull and ignorant, even though they have their story.

"Just Wait" I want to tell them. In the blink of an eye, in the time it takes to turn your head, you can find yourself on a different path. Where God is different, He can't be located in the same words, in the same emotions. You may need their story. The old formula's for holiness work no longer. Faith is not a mathematical equation, carefully balanced. Your five dollar christianese: sanctification, child of God, living by grace, forgiveness, mercy, justice, Godly - these words are meaningless. You will forget the ideas they meant to define, the emotions they captured. You will know almost nothing about the nature of God, you will strain to hear the voice of God. You will find new words, new formulas to recapture the God you still know, but you will have to let go of the old first. You will need the stories that you don't want to listen to now.

This is a place where God is hungry and lean, feasting on locusts and honey, screaming in a temple at money changers. I am not a plump white lamb, He is not a well groomed saviour. He leads me, not in my familiar green pastures, with clear blue water and warm sunshine, but in tall canyons of stone, with white, rushing, ice cold rapids. The grass is brown and dry beneath my feet. This place is alien, out of phase with my pasture. Turn my head quickly one way, I think I can see the pasture where I was happy. Turn my head too quickly to the other, and I catch sight of fearful things, more weary travellers.

The God of the place I am in is different. His voice has changed in tone, in timbre. I am not the clean, white plump lamb. I am desperate, needy, clingy. My voice is strident - wanting answers. My prayers are repetitive, a tireless litany that repeats ad nasueum. "I hurt. This hurts. We hurt. Hurt. Hurt. HURT. Why? Why? WHY?"

In this place where I walk in shoes that are not my own, in a place I don't know, I am at the mercy of my emotions. Of hot tears scalding my way down their face and falling to the floor. Of red eyes and a runny nose. The metallic taste of grief is never far from my throat. I strain, to see around the next curve, hoping for my warm pasture, fearful for the cold feeling in my heart that comes with another terrible reminder that I am stuck in this place. I say "I am this person. I am in this place".

I changed in an instant with Gabriel's death, and I change every morning. It isn't that Gabriel has died, it is that in this terrible place he dies every day. I awake every morning and I loose him again.

This woman, she who wakes each day, who moves in the world, who writes this blog, she is not the me I know, I am, she is the me I am becoming.