Friday, March 16, 2012

Peace that passes understanding

Most days I leave my grief right here. Whether I publish it or just save it for myself, typing out my words enables me to go about my daily life as though I didn't have my heart ripped in half on February 6, 2012.

To the outside world, I appear no more strange than I usually do.

Monday was different. Monday was Circle day. It's the first women's Bible study I have been a part of that Susan wasn't also attending, and often, I would call her on Monday afternoons and we would talk about what had been discussed that morning. Sometimes, I would take notes and send her an email with some verses that made me think of her or something someone said that I thought would be meaningful to her.

Monday was different. Monday was Circle day, and I wouldn't be sharing any of what we discussed with Susan that afternoon. Maybe that is why I was particularly raw that day.

Maybe I was raw because I feel safe among those women.

Maybe I was raw because in reality, it still hasn't been that long since she died.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
     Matthew 5:9

We started out by talking about what having peace means.

Susan and I had this conversation many many times. What does it mean to have peace when you are a young mother with terminal cancer? How is it possible to find peace when you know you are being robbed of decades you expected to spend with the people you love?

I couldn't help myself, and by the end of the lesson, I found myself in the bathroom sobbing. I'm not a public crier. It's not something I'm usually comfortable with. But among the women in this group, the ones who found me and knew what was going on, I could cry.

It felt safe. And it felt necessary. It was almost as if I needed to say to some part of my everyday life, 

"It's still not okay. I'm still not alright with this. The peace I can make with recent events is fragile and has to be rebuilt daily. Be gentle, world. It still hurts."

And they let me do that. I'm so grateful.

Susan loathed for anyone to say that a person "lost their battle with cancer." She absolutely and completely hated those words.

This week, as I've thought about peace and Susan, it has occurred to me that to use the words "fight" and "battle" are altogether appropriate, but the idea that cancer "won" is not.

Cancer didn't win anymore than Susan lost. That cancer that was living in Susan? That bitch is just as dead as she is. 

Susan is, however, at peace. There is no more fighting. There is no more anger. There is no more fear. There is no more pain. There is no more sickness.

She has peace. 

She accepted God's will in her life. She fought for as long and as hard as she physically could, and then she made peace.

There is a big difference between losing a battle and making peace with your life.