It was the summer before my seventh grade year. Which, if it’s possible to peak at age 12, then I think that may have been the case for me.
But I digress.
I’ll never forget the summer my mother and I rode Drop Zone at Kings Island. Imagine the Seattle Space Needle with a ring of outward facing seats around the outside, where you’re harnessed in with your feet dangling.
You get lifted up 27 stories in the air, and then get dropped and freefall at speeds over 68 mph.
I did not want to go. Roller coasters? Absolutely. Love ’em. But a freefall? That high? No thanks, I’d rather stick pins in my eyes.
But I remember standing there, beneath this big, imposing needle, hearing a wave of shrieks every time it dropped, and my mom had this determined look in her eye. We had been watching for a few minutes. And she looked at me and said, “Three seconds. That’s all it is, three seconds.” And I asked her what she meant. And she explained that, sure the ride to the top took about 2 minutes, but that the actual free fall was only three seconds.
And without blinking, she said,
“You can endure anything for three seconds.”
Those sound like some pretty famous last words if I ever heard any.
Well, we ended up riding it. I nearly gave myself a hernia, but the whole time, I kept thinking, “Three seconds. Three seconds. You can endure anything for three seconds.”
And I did. And then proceeded to brag about it to my friends until about Christmas time that year.
I’ve had a bit of a difficult readjustment since coming back to New York. My mom’s stroke, it really changed me. Changed how I see things. Changed what I value.
And I think I’m going through some growing pains, if I’m being honest.
I did something I shouldn’t have tonight: I’ve saved the last voicemail she left me in December before her stroke, and tonight I listened to it for the first time. I wanted to hear her voice – her pre-stroke voice.
I wanted to her the inflection and cadence and intonation that I yearn to hear again.
But I think what I’ve been wrestling with in my heart here, is a bit of grieving. And quite honestly, hopelessness.
We all go through different seasons in life. And seasons of suffering are part of the human experience. But we can persevere, because much like my Drop Zone experience, we can endure anything for three seconds.
But what if it’s longer? And what if that season has no foreseeable end? What if that season has become the new normal?
I have been grieving that here recently. I miss my mom. I miss how things used to be before her stroke. I miss her voice.
God, this was supposed to be just a three second interval. I can handle three seconds. Why did You give us this cross? Lord, I’m angry at You. I feel like You’ve abandoned me. I feel like You’ve locked me outside and I’m desperately banging at the gate.
I’m ready to wake up and have this all have been a terrible dream.
Lord, where the hell are You?
I don’t have an answer to this post.
In fact, after typing that, I snapped my laptop shut, and willed myself to a fitful night’s sleep.
Waking up the next morning, bleary eyed and groggy, I did what I always do, first thing in the morning…I checked Facebook.
And what was the first thing on my News Feed, but this song. It’s a mashup of my all-time two favorite worship songs, Oceans and You Make Me Brave.
So I took a listen, and as the tears streamed down my cheeks, I knew that God had heard me. I knew that I wasn’t alone. I knew that He’s with me right now during my fear.
God will always find us in our pain. Even if it’s in a more non-conventional medium, like a FB newsfeed, He will find a way to comfort His children.
It’s the following night now. I’m back at my laptop with a smidge more clarity and the frame of mind that isn’t clouded with bitter tears and resentment.
I think I listened to that song about 28 times on repeat today, and I’m not even exaggerating.
Here’s the ending I couldn’t come up with last night:
I was only half right about my mom.
Because it’s true, my mom is different from who she was before her stroke.
But. Different is can be good too.
The woman she’s become is one hell of a fighter.
She is a survivor.
My mom is brave. She is strong. She is determined. Persistent. She is a hard worker and won’t settle for anything less than her best.
She is unconquerable.
And she is improving.
Who am I to rush an intricate, magnificent, precious work of artistry?
Yes, the stroke may have dealt some challenges, but I had been solely focusing on the negative.
I would have never thought that the two most challenging periods of my own life – my Ulcerative Colitis flares and my anorexia – would one day become the source of my greatest strength?
I need to let God do His work. Because I can’t see the whole picture. I can’t see the artistry at work. I don’t know His end game.
This is the struggle before the butterfly breaks forth from the cocoon.
Patience, Caralyn. Trust. Hope. Rest.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery,
In oceans deep my faith will stand.
And I will call upon your name.
And keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine.
You grace abounds in deepest waters.
Your sovereign Hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You never fail, and You won’t start now.
As your love, in wave after wave, crashes over crashes over me.
For You are for us, You are not against us,
Champion of Heaven, You made a way for all to enter in.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
You make me brave.
You make me brave.
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves.
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises You made.
My soul will rest in Your embrace for I am Yours, and You are mine.
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