I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Don't Want To Be An Optimist.

Our memory holds us accountable for the grief we carry.

I'm sure you've heard all the sayings, clichés, quotes, and nonsense surrounding grief.  I am not going to waste your time typing them out, we all know them.  Especially the ones people have baptized, calling them godly. 

We were created in a certain way, and we have been given a gift of loving, of forgiving, of memory.  If there is anything anybody ever comes away with after reading my writings, I want it to be that first sentence:

Our memory holds us accountable for the grief we carry.

Too many times have I seen someone hurting over missing their loved one, silenced by some idiotic statement that's been splashed with a little bit of faithy-type talk, and thus had their sorrow and tears shushed away...that way nobody else has to feel anything that hurts.   "Shhhhhhh....be quiet and just let us live in our little bubbly bliss, don't ruin it with unanswered prayers and grief that is too heavy to speak on..."

It's easy to love a god who seems to be giving us everything we want, bending towards our own will.  (When we're honest, that's what we are praying for in our lives, our very own wills.)  When God doesn't give, when God is silent, when God withholds...what then?  I am not sure.  But I do know the mere fact that I speak of this same God, the one who has kept silent, the one who does not give...that is something. 

So many times people hide behind their faith, behind their god, behind their theology.  I don't know what it is about me, but I just can't do that.  I can't pretend like things are okay, I can't pretend like the injustices around me aren't happening.  I can't pretend like the heartache in and around me is not happening. IT IS.  There's something to be said for looking on the bright side.  There's something to be said for being optimistic. 
***However, we have to remember there is no bright side without the shadow.*** 

I John 3:18 says, "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth."
John 4:24 reads, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

When I read these verses, which are like so many in the scriptures, and when I read things like Psalm 88, I can't help but have my eyes opened to the truths that surround me.  I hear people speak of being optimistic, believing that God will answer our prayers, getting rid of negative people in our lives, etc., etc. (Which by the way, Jesus was absolutely one of the most "negative" people ever...but we like to ignore that stuff, it's too hard for us to explain, so we tuck it away in the far corners of our minds, replacing it with the fluffy things of our faith.)  For myself, there are too many things I've been believing in for too long that God refuses to move on.  There are too many things that optimism will never fix.  *I embrace that, because I am unable to ignore the obvious sorrows in this life.* 
I couldn't quite put it all into words, so I wrote the following.  I can hear My Love's voice throughout this, so I think he (though he didn't realize it) wrote it with me.  I can't say I hope it brings some comfort, because it may not.  But I sincerely hope my writing on these hard truths can help others who dance around this world know they aren't alone in their questions, doubt, anger, sadness, and frustrations with God and others.  I hope if you're out there, and you have been living days that are just darkened by sadness, emptiness, all of which you have no control over...I hope you know you're not alone.  I'm okay with God knowing my anger towards him, and I know she understands.  I will continue the wrestle, sometimes it's all we can do.

I don't want to be an optimist,
I have to be honest in this.

This life is often unbearable,
The pain and tears won't end.
Even when it's nothing we've done,
It seems like God will not bend.

We want to scream out we've had enough!
The heartache just won't go away.
We really want things to get better,
But the sorrow and tears just stay.

How easy to just ignore it all!!!
How easy to pretend it's all okay.
To shrug it off with, "God's timing is perfect!"....
And every other empty cliché. 

That isn't enough for me.
An empty faith will never fulfill.
I can't help but hold God accountable,
I can't help but be honest and real.

Relentless I'll be in my wrestling with God,
I refuse to let it all go.
I will keep trying with all I am-
My grief, longings, and sorrows, God knows.

A faith that needs defending
Is nothing that deserves to be followed.
If it cannot stand on its own,
Then it is obviously hollow.

If my hope is in God, then so is my love,
And love never ceases to be.
If I believe in God, I'll remember that
God also believes in me.

God believes I'll do the right thing,
God believes in me to be pure,
God believes I'll hold him and her accountable,
God believes I will endure.

Just as a Mother and Father have hope that
Their child will take care and be brave,
I'll keep holding on and wrestling with God,
I will not let go, I won't cave.

I don't want to be an optimist,
I have to be honest in this.

April 2015