We live in a world where the bottom falls out.
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 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 that day.
The residue of grief created splinters in my spirituality. I’d spent 14 years of my life following Jesus. But the hell cascading all around me like millions of fiery darts began to shake up my theological surety. Almost two years later I’m still dealing with these splinters.
In pain you begin to ask questions. Pain clarifies things. There’s no room for the fake or the flimsy. These questions come out of you from a place that doesn’t even need an answer right now, you’re just compelled to get out the words that form the “why” “how” and “who” causes of your pain.
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to unpack each of the specific collisions that affected me and how my life changed as a result. I’m curious: what collisions have taken place in your life in the last two years? How did these collisions affect you?