He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
~Psalm 46:10 NIV~
Lately, I haven’t been writing as much. This is strange because for me, writing helps me to process things that I don’t understand. Over the years, my writing has been wonderful therapy for me as I’ve gone through many challenges. Sometimes, however; I just need to turn everything off and think about things. While venting often helps me to get over the sting of an insult or the pain of injustice, sometimes nothing really helps to bring peace like a season of silence.
Earlier this year, we found out that my father had cancer. We weren’t sure what would happen, of course. We had no idea if he would be okay. We went through many months of wondering just how long we would have him here with us. In true form, I began to back away. I’ve noticed this about myself. When I love someone and I see that there is a chance that I might lose them, I tend to back away from them. Not to hurt them, but to somehow keep myself from hurting so much if something should happen to them. It’s really stupid and it doesn’t really work. It still hurts when we lose those we love, only it hurts more because we didn’t spend as much time with them as we possibly could have.
Looking back at all the times when I ran, I wonder how differently things could have gone if I would have pressed on through that fear. What memories might I have had if only I had stayed? And this isn’t just about those who have died. It includes those who I loved and left. I’ve walked away from someone I loved very much and I’m sometimes not sure if it was self-preservation or just plain selfishness. And the saddest thing is that I’ll never know. I’ll only be plagued by dreams of what life might have looked like if I’d only stayed the course.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks back and wonders if things might have worked out differently if they had only made a different choice. I used to think I had no regrets, but that isn’t altogether true. I regret every moment when I sat alone thinking about calling or visiting someone and didn’t actually take action. I regret all of the time I spent planning things that I never actually did. And I regret feeling as though the things I managed to make the time to do weren’t worth doing. Every visit, every call, every e-mail, every text to someone you love is remembered. Whether we think they are paying attention or not, what they miss most are the times when we simply don’t connect with them.
I’m very grateful to be able to say that my dad is still with us and that his treatment has been going well. I will be visiting him this weekend and truthfully, I can’t remember being more thankful on this day than I am today. To spend most of the year dreading the loss of someone you love, only to be blessed by having them experience miraculous healing is truly the best gift a person could ever hope for. I know we aren’t supposed to worry. We are supposed to trust God and know that whatever He decides is best, but we are human. The thought of losing the people I love has been choking me. It has kept me from saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done. But I don’t want to let that continue. I don’t want to be ruled by fear and regret. And I don’t think you want this for yourself either.
So, I’m looking around and taking stock of what is and leaving what will be to God. Nothing really stops us from taking the time to be with the ones we love. We just need to fight through whatever fears are keeping us from them.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
~1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV~