Tuesday, December 31, 2013
A Lesson in Suffering from a Fish
Recently Tim and I got the most amazing gift. We were given an entire day. ALONE. With just each other!! Tim's parents were in town from New York and told us they'd keep the kids.
We ran for the suburban, jumped in and hit the gas. We were at least 20 miles out of town before the hysterical giggling subsided.
When we were a safe distance from College Station, we began to have the first uninterrupted conversation in months. Normally our conversations go a bit schizophrenically like this:
Tim: "Tara, what if I do this song on Sunday?"
Lockett: "MOMMMMMM Harrison keeps attacking my face!"
Me: "GAH! You MUST do something with that child you made."
Tim: "ok. Did you know the sink leaks?"
Lockett: "Mom, I am going to donkey kick him if he looks at me again!"
Me: "Since Thanksgiving. Did you call your dad?"
Harrison: "Mom, can zombies survive under water? They don't have to breathe..."
Tim: "Sort of. When's dinner?"
I mean honestly, people. WE NEVER FINISH A CONVERSATION unless we lock ourselves in a room and ignore the hysterical cries on the other side of the door demanding immediate attention. Because seriously, that lost Lego is a matter of life or death!!
So, as we sped away, we took a breath. I reached over and held my husband's hand. I said, "Honey, I need to tell you something I've been dealing with this week. All alone. I haven't had two minutes alone to share with you something that broke my heart this week."
He looked at me and said, "Ok. Let's do this."
I said, "You are gonna think I've lost it, but here goes: So, about a week ago I noticed Harrison's fish swimming crazy. You know, one of the long skinny ones we bought as a pair? You know how one lives upstairs in the shipwreck and one lives downstairs?..."
He looks at me, He's tracking...
I say, "So, one started swimming crazy and I knew his days were numbered." (this is not new, we are great at flushing fish...) "I watched him and he began to show some spots, breath crazy, etc... He moved from upstairs in the ship to a plant leaf near the top of the tank. And he rested there. Laying on the leaf.... Alive but suffering. When he relocated to the leaf, his partner moved out from downstairs in the ship. His fish-friend moved to laying beside him. He put his body up next to his suffering friend and stayed by his side for three days. Until he died. When the fish died, his friend went back inside the ship. It broke my heart."
I looked at Tim and waited for the laughter, the crazy eyes, letting me know I'd tripped and landed in a pile of crazy.
But he looked at me and said, "I didn't need that!! Oh good grief! I think I need to pull over and cry for a few minutes."
He was deadly serious. I love him. God made him for me. He gets me. He didn't make fun of me. He teared up.
This led Tim and I to discussing our roll in suffering in this world. Recently, we've walked through some pain and we watched with heavy hearts our friends walk through sorrow upon sorrow. Experiencing the death of someone you love is one of this world's greatest heart breaks.
We talked about how not only to suffer, but to suffer with a friend. To bear one another's burdens and how that looks. How does it look to suffer with someone?
Sometimes it looks like laying beside a broken, hurting friend. Because death is not something we were intended to experience, it is NOT natural at anytime, in anyway. We were made to be eternal with Christ and sin entered and death was the consequence. So, because it is so broken, and foreign, our words will never make it feel any better. Sometimes it means just being there.
And as Tim and I discussed the inevitability of suffering, and how the greatest, wisest people we know have suffered incredible pain, we talked about how Christ came, walked every bit of humanity we would and He suffered. He hurt, he bled, he walked every bit in human flesh. And He has overcome.
Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery."
Ps 31:24 says, "Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord."
I am in love with this song that speaks to exactly this.
"So take heart, let His love lead us through the night. Hold on to hope, and take courage again."