We live in a world where the bottom falls out.
Deadened emotions and numb feelings place their victory flags in the fertile ground of the heart. Fragile flesh and bone try their best to cope with the shock of intense things: deaths of loved ones, physical traumas, sickness and illness, damaged relationships, wrestling in theology and wondering is God really good.
Unspoken questions linger like musty cigar smoke, pungent in the soul, sticking to you:
Why is life so hard?
Did that really have to happen?
Where is God in all of this hell?
Real questions. True questions. Human questions. A non-stop march of change continues upon the calendars we make for lives, calendars that really should be written out in pencil and not pen. Something is always erasing what we thought would be what we wanted with those we chose to do them with.
The regularities and relationships of our lives collide violently with change and sometimes these collisions produce abrupt endings.
2013 was a year of deep collisions for me.
In May, my pastor of eight years unexpectedly resigned after disclosing a crushing moral failure on his part to our Discovery Church’s elders team. Four months later in September my beautiful grandmother Lena suffered a heart attack and died unexpectedly. Three weeks after her death, I was hit from behind while driving home from work and the accident totaled my car and required six months of neck and back rehabilitation.
October also signaled the abrupt closure of Restore Hope Orlando, a local community center where I invested my heart, my tears and my prayers into the lives of elementary and middle school children for four years. Post-traumatic anxiety from the car accident along with a blanket of grief from my grandmother’s death gripped me through November and December. The experience caused me to wonder if I was on the brink of an emotional breakdown.
December also brought the awareness of significant transitions taking place at my job of 12 years. Several people I developed close relationships with would be leaving the organization the following spring. Leadership changes were on the horizon as well.
Life felt unstable and I was in turmoil on the heels of so many collisions and changes happening at the same time. My world became this concentrated funnel of pain. The bottom fell out. Grief simply overtook me. Mourning peered over my shoulders. The reality of loss ached in my soul until numbness set in and my goal each day was just to make it through those 24 hours.
Philip Yancey says that pain is a gift from God. In his book “Where Is God When It Hurts?” he writes: The pain network (in the body) deserves far more than token acknowledgement. It bears the mark of creative genius.”
I agree with him. Pain tells me that something is wrong, something is not right and I need to be fully aware in this moment about this pain. Pain can come physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and relationally. The pain alerts me to pay attention to ME. It whispers in my body as it stings its gift of awareness, “Melody you are hurt. You are bleeding. You are broken. You are burned. You are wounded. Listen to me. Listen to ME.”
So I listened and from listening this blog emerged.
Through this writing space I give you my experiences and my hopes to help you and many others navigating these waters find a steadiness that leads you to a “new normal” and building a new chapter into the story of your life.
I follow Jesus and I understand that sometimes pain often cuts faith down to its knees in the heart of the griever, whether they believe in Jesus, find belief in something else or question what to believe. I think it’s healthy to consider belief in the midst of suffering. Pain has a way of showing you who you are like nothing else. In this space I talk about the relationship faith has with pain and what belief becomes when the bottom falls out in our lives.
I wanted to find myself again from my losses and my pain. I wanted to find Melody and in finding Melody I believed I’d also find “Melodie,” what I see as the purest parts of me, the me that was me before the pain came, the me that was the chubby cheeked brown skinned girl that loved her southern roots and hopeful optimism.
When I entered this world, my father named me Melodie. In my teens I started writing my name as Melody. Both mean the same thing:
Musical sounds in agreeable succession or arrangement; a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying.
I believe my name describes me truthfully, authentically and intentionally. As I find more of me, I’ll find more of the melodies of my soul.
Come on this journey with me and subscribe by e-mail or visit as often as you can.