Monday, June 23, 2008

The Staircase

So I don’t really bother with the questions of “Why God would allow this to happen.” I moved on from asking questions you’ll never get sufficient answers to a long time ago.

Why God would allow a child to be born, live for three years, and spend his ending moment in severe pain is not a question I’m going to ask, there will never be a sufficient answer. I know a lot of well meaning Christians would point out meaningfully that said child brought a lot of joy to his parents, his sister and inspired a lot of people. Is that worth the pain he went through? Not a question I’m going to ask, there will never be a sufficient answer.

I’m thinking the older you get, the less you’ll ever get sufficient answers to the Why questions you have. Why did that happen to Hudson? Why didn’t my script sell? Why is it triple digit temperatures?

On Wednesday night, in between the few tears I shed, I found myself not asking Why questions, but thinking about Dalton instead. There was a conversation I had with Dalton a few months before he passed. It sounded like a rehearsed moment that he had prepped and ready to go anytime someone asked him how was his treatment going, but I didn’t mind if he didn’t mind repeating it for the umpteenth time.

And here’s the part where my memory gets all weird, and I even called Tricia to try and confirm some details, and she was rightfully all like, “Huh?” But basically, what I remember is Dalton saying something like how he knew he was supposed to be gracious in his suffering, but he was still thinking, “Um, really would rather not.” Tricia rightly says she doubts Dalton would have thought he was supposed to be gracious in his suffering. Nobody thinks they’re supposed to be gracious in their suffering. Except me, in my dealings with Roomie Jekyll and Roomie Heckle. Heh.

The point being is that I know I heard Dalton say “Um, really would rather not” and it was a joking response to a typical Christianese theme of how we should bear our burdens and not complain about them, and it made both of us laugh, because we were both sarcastic people that had the same response to Happy Chipper Christians a lot of the time.

Then a more recent memory dropped in my head, back to this past New Year’s Eve. There were a few events that I hopscotched around to, and one of them was to Tricia’s house, where she was hosting a party. We all laughed, drank, walked down the street to look at the Rose Bowl Parade floats. And at a certain moment, I was sitting on the couch with Simon, the best dog ever, and Tricia had broken the news to little Iain that it was bedtime. Little Iain didn’t wanna go to bed, it wasn’t even midnight, there were still more Patron shots to do, but Tricia wouldn’t hear any of it, and marched him up the stairs.

To Iain’s credit, he didn’t pitch a fit, but trudged up the stairs, with Tricia behind him, and said, “But Momma, I’m not tired” over and over again in a voice that sounded exactly like Michael Darling in Disney’s Peter Pan: Momma, the buried treasure.

“But Momma, I’m not tired.” Iain says, as he climbs the stairs. “I know, honey,” Tricia says, climbing up after him, “I know.”

I feel like that all the time. I think we all do.

But God, I don’t wanna do this. I know, honey, I know. But God, I don’t wanna do this. I know, honey, I know. But God, I don’t wanna do this. I know, honey, I know.

And we keep going up the stairs, God right behind us. Always there, always following as we march on to do things we don’t wanna do. The calm quiet presence behind us.

Like my favorite line from C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed” “When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”

Your answer is no answer. And still up we climb.


Susan Lee said...

Such a beautiful and profound post. I think that's exactly how it is, God trudging up the stairs behind us. Also remember, not that I'm a big bible person, but that Jesus told God he didn't want to sacrifice himself as well. So He knows how we feel. Maybe there's some comfort in that.

spunkyselkie said...

Ames, I thought this was a great post. I loved the staircase image especially.

Sorry to hear about Hudson.