Saturday, October 18, 2008

5 years later in the shack

Since I am not generally a fan of Christians, I do not often jump on the bandwagons than seem to ride unchecked through Christianland, so when The Shack was the latest book 'ya gotta read!!', I was like, NAA.

But I have this friend, see, that somehow can talk me into stuff I am not into on my own. She talked me into a facebook account of all things! And she talked me into reading The Shack once she started reading it. I can understand why more than she realizes. It is an emotionally traumatic read that will strip you raw and then dump some salt on you.

By page 2 I was naked and shaking at the relatableness of the story. A parent who had a horrible childhood loves his kids but now lives with grief. The word imagery is an incredible description of life with grief and I find myself on my knees at the relief that someone, ANYone can understand my guts. My friend wanted someone to understand what she carried from reading this book and I get that so much. There are things I carry, we all carry, that we want someone to understand but that is not always an option.

As a human, I think it is a natural (albeit fleshy) desire to want to be understood by another human. God is my Creator, of course He understands and while that can be enough, at times, it is not. Right or wrong, it is hard to live with thousands who do not get you. Is it good and beneficial to not be understood, but I am just talking about basic carnal wants.

So the words I need to use up today are about another area of me I have never been able to share adequately. Ironically, it happened almost exactly 5 years ago.

My girls were 7months, 2 & 4. The baby and I had gone to WalMart to do the weekly shopping and my husband was 'babysitting'. Reluctantly. I had been a Christian just about 4 years and my love was still wrestling with the concept. Life was not easy then and I was still in a lot of pieces from an extremely traumatic year during the pregnancy with my youngest. I had bounced a lot the previous year between thinking it was too hard and cost too much to love Christ and knowing deep that my Savior was the only lifeline worth even reaching for.

My love faced his own demons daily and I am ashamed to say, I was not exactly fighting on his team all the time. I was on my way home when my phone rang. It was him telling me he could not find Emery. I screamed into the phone something like do not call me and say that. Do not say that to me. If you mean it you call 911. Then I hung up on him.

By the time I got home, he was outside running around and I left the car full of groceries at the end of the drive where it would sit for the next 2 days. The cops arrived soon after I did followed by fire, friends, family, neighbors and lots of emergency responders.

Nothing made sense. We had an alarm system installed recently when death threats were made against me and the girls and she was 2. Mem was not the type to wander off and Kenneth had been playing video games in the front room. Add in his extreme paranoia and someone sneaking into the house made no logical sense. Nonetheless, I slipped into crazy irrational mode.

I avoided my husband and he avoided me. I avoided the kitchen where there were knives. I was afraid if he looked me in the eyes and I could get a hold of a knife, I would try to hurt him. I had a baby on my hip that wanted to nurse and was tired and reacting to my emotions and a 4 year old by the hand that kept asking what if we never find her sister.

I remember a police officer telling me to start looking in the house for her and I began looking where ever he was looking. He shooed me out the room he was in and I just wandered around my house praying and cursing God. At times when the 4 year old would say what if we never find her I would scream at her 'do not say that because in Jesus' Name, we WILL find her' thinking He owes me that. After all I had been through, after all I had been through because of Him, how DARE He take another of my daughters.

I shudder now at my lack of fear and I shudder at His Love and grace for me for allowing me to spew my venom all over Him.

She was found an hour and four minutes after I was told by my husband he could not find her. In those 64 minutes my mind took me down many road full of horrific possibilities. I was sick that ANYone who did not love her would even touch her soft brown skin and disgusted at the idea that she may have called out for me or her daddy and felt let down. I remembered the death threats and the books I had read, movies I had seen and news stories I had watched.

I remembered thinking not her, not this one and being horrified that I even considered the thought that it would have been better to be one of the other 2 girls.

I got put on daily anti anxiety meds not long after this because some of the places my mind went were too evil to deal with while attempting to function outside of padded walls.

When she was found asleep in my bed wrapped in 3 king sized comforters, I fell to my knees. Someone grabbed the baby from my arms and the 4 year old from my side as I gave in to full blown hysteria.

I remember going into the fetal position and violently releasing everything that had held me together the last hour, maybe the last 20 years. I have no idea how long they let me go on but eventually an officer told me to pull myself together. He said 'mom you need to get up and get yourself together, you have 3 little girls who need you to take care of them'.

So I did. I dried it up, inside and out, sat up with my legs out in front of me and all 3 girls were given to me as I sat there. I did not speak and I did not move for at least a couple of hours. Kenneth was told outside and people started to clear out slowly.

I was so weak and drained I could not speak or get up but I remember some emergency responder who was a woman telling me she understood how I felt. If I had the strength, I wanted to get up and beat the crap out of her then drag her to the cemetery where my daughter was buried and slam her face in the dirt covering all that was left of my baby and ask her if she still understood me. I never even lifted my head to see her face above me. If I knew what she looked like and I saw her again, I would hate her.

Hear me when I say I am just barely scratching the surface. I remember not speaking for a day or two until everything was tucked away nice and tight on the inside as I righted my house that had been torn apart during the search. As I put things away on the outside (every cabinet and closet had been emptied) I stuffed things away on the inside too. I had little to say and just as uncharacteristically my husband had so much to say.

He does not read so I can not ask him to read The Shack after I do but I wonder if his internal closet would explode and spill it's overstuffed content at the trigger of this book.

5 years later I have grown a lot and I still have the safety net of my medication. My relationship with my husband and more importantly our God has grown and matured.

I kept looking at my Mem with her narrow beautiful features and the huge gap from her 2 missing teeth that is my favorite and remembering that for one hour and four minutes I questioned if I would ever have today. I thank God over and over that I do. And I break for those who do not.

I may need more than a weekend at my shack with my Papa. At least now, 5 years later, I trust Him enough to allow Him to help me clean out my closets.


Brenda said...

My heart breaks from reading this story. I cannot begin to understand your deep pain. I'm praying that God will help you, that He'll heal your hurts and pain and bring complete comfort. I'm truly sorry for your loss. And so very thankful you have your beautiful Emery.

I too have been resisting reading The Shack. Since it was all the buzz, I was refusing to jump on that bandwagon. Rebellious I suppose. So now I don't know what the story is all about. A friend of mine said it helped her to understand the Trinity better. I guess I should read it after all. I might learn something important.

One thing that came to mind though when you mentioned your husband not reading. I was wondering if your library would have it on audiobook CD. Do you think he would listen to it? If your library doesn't carry the audiobook, I would like to buy it for you as a gift if you'd like. Please let me know. It's so sweet how you refer to your husband as "my love".

Praying for you. Sincerely, Brenda

HappyFLMom said...

Oh my speechlessness. Your post made me cry. What an awesome writer you are. This pulled every emotion out of me in less than 4 minutes. I've never heard of The Shack. But I'm not sure I want to be stripped and salted.

You are changing my life one post at a time. You are.

Thank you for sharing this. I could not have been easy.

Heidi Reed

bub said...

The pastors at my church have talked about "The Shack", recommending it really. I haven't picked it up. If it provokes that kind of emotion out of you, I'll check it out. Keep being honest with your writing. It's inspiring to others. Side hugs and leg drops, even a razzle dazzle, bub