“I call her my Resplendent Bride because I have eyes and ears and for a time she even let me hold her hand.”
My friend died of cancer at a very young age, just a few years ago. Her husband, Evan, wrote a book, Resplendent Bride.
He loved her.
He spoke of her in ways that put many an author to shame.
He wrote about grief and studied the brilliant writings of C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed.
I have wrestled with my own understandings of suffering in this world, especially as that of a Christian, a Christ-follower. A true believer. I have seen the loss in various forms and have worn out the carpet with my pacing of “why, God?”.
This book has given me so much more depth on the subject of suffering. I have not felt nor experienced the kind of grief this man has endured, and I pray every day that I never have to. Not like that.
I encourage you to pick up this book. It applies to everyone…
→ if you are suffering
→ if you are a widow
→ if you are wrestling with God on the subject of suffering (as I have now for over a year)
→ or if you simply need to learn how to best understand what to say to someone who is grieving (because many of us inadvertently say the wrong and the worst thing…)
Click HERE to view the book. Perhaps consider a purchase. It’s well worth it.
It’s 151 pages including the epilogue. Another 7 pages of the Appendix which is about ways to comfort the suffering. About 160 pages in all.
And all 160 pages of well spent, well written love and loss.
Death could not hold You
the veil tore before You
You silenced the boast, of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again
You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever
Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name
above all names
What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
For a good listen to this beautiful song:
The Soldiers Mock Jesus27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. ( Matthew 27:27-31 )
Over the past year, I have been wrestling with the idea of suffering. I’ve not actually suffered, truly, like a lot of people I know have, but I have seen (and felt) the pain from it, from their sufferings. I am not ready yet to write a blog about this, as I would have liked to, especially for Good Friday. But as I sit here and read Matthew 26 – 28, and I am filled with sadness and grief. So many people are still like this, still ready to crucify rather than simply attempt to open themselves up to the possibility Christ is who He says He is. That all of this isn’t just a bunch of stories. They’d rather risk their eternal soul to damnation. I feel so much sorrow for them, so much grief. (That is what you are hearing when I say these things, sorrow and grief. Not judgment for who am I to judge you? I do not judge you. I cannot pretend to be in your shoes.)
I am a rescuer. I want to save everyone from themselves, but I can’t. There’s only one that can. I pray, if you’re reading this, you just give Him a chance.
I also read the verses I quoted above, Matthew 27:27-31 and I think about suffering once again. I consider the questions I’ve asked:
→ Why couldn’t the death have been painless?
→ Why did she have to suffer?
→ Why did she have to live for two weeks of pain and suffering before she lost the battle?
→ Why did the family have to suffer the guilt, the loss, the psychological trauma
→ Why did this have to happen, now? This was the worst time for this family.
Then I think about how Christ suffered. An innocent. More innocent than anyone else. He didn’t just suffer. It wasn’t as simple as that.
He suffered. Brutally.
It wasn’t quick. It wasn’t painless. Add to that, He was mocked; tortured. Yelled at. Spit on. Embarrassed. He was treated like scum.
Imagine that. The Son of GOD… was allowed to be treated like He was worthless.
→ Do I have the answer as to why? No.
→ Do I, therefore, question God’s love for me or anyone else? Honestly, I don’t.
→ Do I continue to wrestle with God as to why He’d let His son and His children suffer so?
Yes, Yes, and Yes.
I serve a truly loving God.
If He asks His ONLY Son, a son He loves more than anything, to be willing to go through what He went through, in order that we may live with Him someday? How can I turn away from Him when I see suffering in this world? How can I say “God isn’t a loving God” when He gave up his ONLY son for me? How is that not love?
“If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which ‘took these things into account’ was not faith but imagination. The taking them into account was not real sympathy. If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.” – A Grief Observed, pp. 36-37 (C. S. Lewis)
I know you catch me staring. You smile and wiggle and your eyes catch fire.
Love transfers in that moment.
You attempt to withhold a smile; you purse your lips and lower your eyes so that you don’t show the world how thin a line you tread before the inner joy bursts out. But what is the loss? Your concentration, of course. You are a mystery, a page to turn, slowly over a lifetime.
I would speak of you more but words do not do you justice. Words to describe you do not fit this page. Committing to one small forming of letters; claustrophobic by the phrases surrounding it. But for you, I try.
“I think we should move to Nashville”
The words that started our journey. He outgrew the city we were in and it was time to be the little fish in the big pond. I knew he needed to grow, to expand. He needed to flex his fingers and his mind in ways he’s only dreamt of. I knew it was time to stop dreaming.
“I think that’s where you belong.”
I wonder if other musicians feel this pull. For those that do, you’ll understand me when I say it’s not just a decision to move here. It’s the underwater current you can’t swim out of; the gravitational force you can’t peel yourself away from. You don’t decide to move to Nashville. You wake up and realize one day that you’re not home. That you’ve never really been home.
(To those that don’t have close ties with your family, know that this realization is both sad and inviting all in the same.)
That first, scary moment where you’ve made the jump but now that you’re here, what do you do first? Is there a start to a finish? A race you’ve just entered and you’re hoping to catch up? Or is this just a pool where you jump in and hope you can keep your head above water?
“I must be doing something wrong. I must not be good enough.”
It’s been a year, maybe two now. You’ve not picked up any work, or at least very little. You constantly, silently compare yourself to those around you. You see their success and toss logic to the wind. Sure. They’ve been here seven years to your one, but hey that doesn’t matter, right? You should’ve already “made it” by now. This is the temptation. This is what you have to guard yourself from thinking, feeling, believing, if you’re going to continue to strive to be that successful Nashville musician. If you’re going to “make it”.
“Speaking of making it…”
I’m not sure this is a real thing, to be honest. I hear people talk about “making it”.
→ I should’ve made it by now
→ He/she never made it as a musician
As a musician, especially in Nashville, you’re always striving to “make it” and the closer you get to it, the more you realize it never really existed to begin with. You’re a musician. If you’ve already made the move to Nashville, you’ve “made it.” I mean sure, I get what people mean. “Making it” means they are successful in whatever goal they hoped to attain. But I guess that is exactly what I am getting at. Theres no such thing as “making it” because the phrase itself is so fluid and each person has their own definition. Don’t focus on “making it”. I don’t believe that is ever the end goal, not really.
… … … … …
Three and a half years later, we are still grasping at our goals. Striving for success but not at the cost of our sanity. We continue to blend our worlds to the point where we confuse the “I” and the “You” in any story. There’s more story to write, more plots to unfold.
If you would like to see where this story began, please click HERE.
Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is.
Angel Chernoff (partial quote)
I remember grappling with this the year my husband, Eric, had his appendix burst and hospitalized for 2 weeks; losing 25 pounds in 13 days. Driving him to the hospital with one hand so the other hand could hold his head up as he kept passing out.
Then one month later, getting hit by a truck while on his bicycle and forever ruining his foot, even after surgery.
All this only one year, almost to the day, after our wedding on January 8, 2011.
I thought….this isn’t right. This ISNT the way it was supposed to be. We were supposed to have a happy, fun-filled, easy going, get-to-know-each-other first few years. The hard stuff was supposed to come later. Much. Much. Later.
What is that old Yiddish proverb? We plan, God laughs?
Well, this isn’t a post so you can pity me. Or Eric. It’s a reflection on how God turned all things to our good. He didn’t make it easy for us. He let us walk the hard path. He let those things happen for his own understanding and asked us to be patient and to trust and to keep praying and to stay faithful. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t easy.
→ Eric still has pains in his stomach from the scar tissue of all the drains put in and taken out.
→ Eric still has to stretch his foot in the shower every morning so he can walk without much of a limp; So he can chase his little boy or walk his dogs.
→ Eric is here and he is healthy.
So I am thankful. It took me a long time to let go of what could have been, what should have been. But who am I to say what should have been?
I’m not saying someone dying of cancer should be happy their life turned out the way it did. I’m not going to pretend I know how any one of your lives is right now or how to be happy within it. But for me? Happiness is letting go of what I thought our lives should’ve been and seeing it for what it has become.
Through the lows and through the highs, it has been the ride of a lifetime with so so so many hardships. But Eric and I are closer than I ever thought possible. God and I are closer than I ever thought possible. And for that? I will always be thankful.
FIVE Things I would tell myself to the pre-Nashville “Me”
1 -Get yourself connected immediately; Job, church, classes, book club, sports, etc. But try to pick one or two and get heavily involved
You will thank me! When you connect yourself to something, you feel a purpose. You also meet new people and start to make friends. You start to feel like you belong here. You breathe the air they breathe now. Get to know it. Get to know them. It can be unbelievably isolating otherwise!
2 – DATE NIGHTS (even if you’re not seeing someone. even if you’re unmarried. even if you can’t find a babysitter)
Try and go on a date night once a week if you can manage or afford it. If you can go at least two times a month, that will be so helpful. If you’re not married, take yourself out! Take a friend out! If you’re a single mom, this is hard, but try? to take your kiddo out. Either way, this ties into #3…
3 – Explore the city on a weekly basis
I cannot stress this enough. GET. TO. KNOW. YOUR. NEW. HOME. Use this as a date night adventure each week. Do it alone if your mate cannot join you. Take your kiddo(s), both human and furry alike. I will touch on this more in an upcoming blog about being a Nashville Mom but regardless if you have kids or not, this is crucial to feeling connected here.
That is what Nashville is all about – being connected. Both professionally and personally.
4 – Become involved in each others’ lives
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? Well it’s more complicated than you think. When they talk about gear, LISTEN. When they want to go to a show, even if it’s in a grungy place, if it’s important to them and you can do it (i.e you’re feeling well either mentally or physically or both), then please do yourselves a favor and go! Same goes for them. They need to go to that charity event. They need to go to your book signing. Whatever you invite them to, they need to try and go as well. This will greatly increase how connected you both feel!
5 – Don’t let them hit the ground running when you move. Well…not exactly
To me, this one is one of the most important ones of all. When you move here, you’re coming with a purpose. As a musician, you have to get connected.
- You have to pick up any and every gig you can.
- You have to attend any and every show, writers round, dinner invite, etc that you can attend.
→ It’s so very easy to move here, as a wife / husband / significant other of a musician, and say GO GET ‘EM! But you HAVE to set boundaries for yourselves! You have to create a plan of how much time will be spent doing that and also managing the other four above.
→ There’s nothing wrong with incorporating all of the above! If he (or she) is eager to just go go go when you move here (which they will be) then decide together to go to that show and make it a date night which needs to include something NOT career related.
→ Whether you’re married or not, when you move to Nashville with a musician, you become a Nashville Wife or Husband. You are married to the city if your partner is serious about a career here. And that needs to become a good thing! It took me a long time to understand it here, but I get it. And I love it.
If you ever need help with this, please comment below, share my blog, or write me a message. I’ll be glad to talk to anyone who is struggling or just needs to vent.
Love to you all!
Small things of today: That moment when you get a notification in German that someone liked or commented on your post and you have to open up Google’s translator in order to read it! MAN I love it!
Good luck with your hopes and dreams! – Brian Regan
I had the opportunity to go back to my hometown in Missouri this past weekend to visit family (hence the lack of posting. I know you missed me.)
Talking to all my friends and family got me thinking of things that add to our existence. I decided to put a twist to them.
This is purely satirical and not what I actually feel,
especially #8 as I, myself, am an introvert.
[But it sure was funny to write.]
- Don’t Date. The opposite sex is evil, pure evil. Dating is a void; it robs you of brain matter.
- Don’t get a job that enhances your creativity and desires. Those kind of jobs only bring you emptiness and feelings of inadequacy. Set the bar low.
- SPEND. ALL. YOUR. MONEY. NOW. Only fools waste their time saving money. It’s much simpler to just blow it all and hope you make more tomorrow.
- Go to college. Or Don’t. It’s not really your decision if you get “that job” anyways.
- Desire a purposeless life. Then you don’t have to blog about it in your 30’s
- Skip your 20’s. Those 10 years only exist to remind yourself of how much of a moron you were. Don’t be a moron. We’re over it.
- Binge-watch Netflix. Their life is more interesting anyways.
- Be an introvert. Don’t go out in public. People think you hate them (I mean, you screen their calls) and so no one likes you anyways (or so you believe.) All they want is to be around you. All you want is for them to disappear. No people = no drama. If you’re an extrovert? I’m sorry. Good luck with that.
- Don’t Inspire; Conspire. Worry about no one else. You are the top of the food chain now. You must survive. The status of your Facebook likes & Snapchat updates depend on it.
- Don’t read blogs. Better yet, don’t read period. Knowledge isn’t power. Knowledge is an open gate to endless suffering.
NOTE: for those that would like to read a fantastic article on introverts (my favorite one to date), click here