I went into the basement of my home church for the first time in three years. It had been renovated, and as I looked around, I realized nothing was the same. Walls had been torn down and built up, new sections had been added and everything that I grew up remembering and knowing and loving had been erased. I went into the basement of my home church for the first time in three years and could not help but feeling like I was about to break down. Just like that, everything that I was secure in had been taken away from me, again. Sure, my life had changed within the last three years, but “home” was supposed to stay the same. As I looked around, I realized that “home” would never be home again, and as much as I thought of what it used to be, it was no longer that. One of the very few things that was supposed to be a constant turned into a variable.
Three years ago, the Pastor of my home church, my father, died and with him, normal died too. Of course there were things that immediately changed, but as time went on, there were others things that changed that I didn’t even know would matter. As I saw what the basement looked like, I realized that it mattered to me; that there would be no nostalgic memories based on what I saw and it hurt. It hurt because it solidified that I could not pretend that what happened didn’t happen. It hurt because my bubble was burst. It’s not that I haven’t accepted that my father died (and even as I type these words…) but I’m used to going periods without seeing or talking to my Dad. He worked all the time and came home late when we already in bed asleep to kiss us goodnight. When I left for college, I checked in with him but mostly saw him when I went home. I knew he was there, but it wasn’t uncommon to see his trace and not his presence. Now, I feel like that plays a big role in my healing process. It’s hard to envision someone as permanently not coming back when it doesn’t feel like they’ve deviated from their normal pattern. Seeing the basement change was a reminder that my Dad wasn’t just at work; it served to remind me that just as the renovation permanently removed the tangible reminders of my childhood, his death removed him physically from me.
I really apologize for the sadness of this post but writing is cathartic for me and I think it helps to be able to share sometimes, as others hurt too, you know?
But anyway, I realized something else when I looked around the basement, and thought of being back at my home church in service. The young people at my church pretty much disbanded after my Father’s death. I couldn’t understand why and thought they were being somewhat dramatic. Sometimes I got angry and thought to myself “it was my Dad; how it could possibly be hurting them as much as it hurts me?” but it finally hit me in the basement. It wasn’t a Einstein moment per se, but I realized it hurt too much to be there. I realized that there was just a constant reminder of what wasn’t and it was too much to face. As I saw the people my Father shepherded and interacted with and loved, it hurt me that he wasn’t there to do it. I finally understood that “home” hurt.
My heart still grieves, and I apologize if it seems that it is all I talk about, but I’m in a healing process, and sometimes, the most important thing you can do is acknowledge the pain of the moment. However, I’ll end on a lighter note. Someone asked me today what I thought my biggest motivating factor to continue living was. I hesitated and thought a while before I answered but my answer was this:
“My faith and the fact that I’m alive. When I really want to give up, I rely on my faith and though “it” may not make sense, I press in to what I believe. And honestly, the fact that I’m alive means that I have another chance and I can’t afford to give up. Good times don’t last forever, but bad times won’t either. One day, it’ll all make sense”.
And that’s what I’ll hold on to. No matter what has changed, and what continues to change, everyday that I’m alive is another opportunity to live in the moment and conquer it, and trust God that He’ll work it out. Life is still beautiful even when it hurts.
Until Next Time,