I am blessed? I am blessed. I am blessed! Really, I’m so freaking blessed, so much to the point that it’s incredibly hard to relate to many hardships. It’s also subconsciously caused me to sometimes have unreasonably high expectations of myself, others, or anything else I’m associated with. Especially when it comes to people, most specifically family, I have rarely been disappointed. All of my reference points have been solid. My aunts & uncles, grandparents, and cousins are all what I would call “high-balled (in contrast with low ball/blow..yeah sorry that’s crude) people.” Some of the best memories from childhood and from my more recent history revolve around my nuclear and extended family. Those big family reunions are what I look forward to most, what I might even giggle in anticipation for. The biggest drama we’ve had was about 10 years ago at a reunion dinner between an uncle and his nephew over shark fin soup. Was it wasteful/disrespectful vs ethical to refuse it? Ooo crazy, right?! The tension lasted for 20 minutes. We still talk about it to this day.
All that to say that that is an example of how I’m blessed to the point that I can’t truly relate to people who dread seeing family (shout-out to the 2011 sandpaper sermon). I was talking to Ivan about this tonight while he washed and I rinsed the dinner dishes. We realized that people listening to us chat might have said or thought of the fact that we lost our mom and considered it at least a partial equalizer of sorts. I used to think that too, but that couldn’t be more inaccurate.
As open as I’ve been about my feelings surrounding my mom’s death, I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that I used to blame myself for what happened. You see, I often times pride myself on my brain’s ability to come up with something good to say when it comes to verbal comfort and compassion. I’m not sure why given my track record, but I do. But the more people I met, the more I realized that I could only provide comfort and compassion if I could relate in some way or fully understand the situation. Naturally, my prayer to God was to increase my experiences and understanding, so that I could reach out to more people. This was all happening right before my mom was diagnosed with cancer. When we found out, I was incredibly distraught but I could see how it was also an answered prayer. I could now relate to people going through the cancer ordeal with loved ones. It was like something to mark off of a checklist of empathetic experiences, still thinking that it was in God’s plan to heal her and prolong her life on Earth.
When she died, I was still looking at things with that checklist in mind. I blamed myself, thinking that I had essentially asked God to kill my mom. That guilt was almost unbearable, but I was blessed to be surrounded by community who helped me throw away those lies. The truth is that my mom’s death wasn’t some sort of equalizer nor was it something that I caused. In fact, my mom’s passing was an enormous blessing. Here’s just a snippet of what I’ve gained from it:
- What do I really need? Many would put their mothers at the top of that list, but mine is in heaven. I’m still here and I’m still okay. As painful as it can sometimes be to say, mom wasn’t holding me together all this time. God was, is, and will.
- New focus. Pretty self-explanatory
- The reminder that life on Earth is temporary and that my life is not mine. This so common but so true. I really can’t be reminded enough of either. I decided to really live my life for Jesus in 2006, so it is not mine to waste.
- Pertinent to what I originally started writing about, that showing compassion in the face of relation and understanding is easy. My prayer for more experiences and understanding was well-intentioned but misguided. After she died, I realized that it’s not about compiling all the possible experiences. It’s impossible after all, so am I allowed to use that as an excuse? Hellz no! God’s really been challenging me to love with my heart rather than just my brain. It’s not always my job to understand, but it is to love.
I could go on because that was only the beginning. I have the feeling too that God’s not done showing me things from that event. It’s overwhelming to think about how much has happened this year. I’m not trying to paint this overly rosy picture or anything, but there’s just so much to tell. The bottom line is that I’m blessed, embarrassingly so.