Have you ever had the rug pulled out from underneath you? Not literally, but metaphorically? Have you ever gone about your life like normal, only to have life sucker punch you in the gut when you least expect it?
A phone call. A rejection letter. A break up text. It only takes a second for the world to flip upside down. No one expects the walls to cave in. Even people who fear the worst, do so distantly.
We don’t count on things going wrong, or for tragedy to strike us down. We see bad things happen to other people—sickness, death, miscarriages and financial destruction. But we cross our fingers, close our eyes and pray to God, ‘Don’t let it happen to us.’
A few years ago, my family lost our matriarch—my grandmother. In some ways, this has drawn us closer together as a family. Our bodies and spirits needing to come near to one another in order to fill the vacuum her death created. In most ways, we’ve never fully recovered.
I loved my grandmother. The words are laughably common, even as I write them. I mean, everyone loves their grandmother. But this was different. It was different for us because never before in history was there another woman so crucial to the continuation of earth’s journey on its axis. So I thought.
You never know how you will react when your world falls apart. You hope that your character is strong enough to endure, even as your heart melts from the fear that it won’t.
Her passing was not expected. I have foggy memories surrounding blood clots, CPR and an overtired heart giving out under stress. Most of all, I remember shock. Stupid, mind-numbing, time-stopping shock. Shock even more overwhelming than sorrow, and wave after unabated wave of pain and disbelief.
I used to believe that when the unexpected happens that you are best able to gauge the measure of a woman or a man. You learn where their strength lies, and what their foundation is made of. Is there merit to their fortitude? Or, is their character dashed easily from the bedrock of their existence?
Character. Fortitude. Wit. Strength. These are things gifted to me by God through the gentle work of my grandmother’s firm hand. Forged in the fires of life, sharpened by the iron of trials. Yet all of those things failed to sustain me. Where my strengths gave way, God remained.
I thought my whole world would fall apart the day my grandmother died. It didn’t. I’m still here and somehow the earth still spins. I still eat. I laugh. I have a full and happy life. Thank God. I had the rug pulled out from under me, but eventually I found my step again.
In it, I claim no strength or peace of my own outside of what was given from the hand of God. Even typing these words instills fear into my heart that one day, these claims about God’s faithfulness may be tested in my life again. But this testament still serves as an altar to the sustaining grace of God in my life. It says that, like all things of this world, grief and sorrow and suffering shall pass. But God remains the same, yesterday, today and forever.