At least you were able to amuse yourselves in the comments while you waited. At least I was amused when I read the comments. This afternoon, I received a little Christmas searcy (you may call them “happies” or “surprises” at your house. My family calls them “searcies.”) from a friend I made through blogging. We’ve never met (though she’s going to be traveling my way early next year, woo hoo!), but I have nary a second’s hesitation when I refer her to as my friend. She has become precious to me. I love reading through the comments and finding long-time friends in the flesh intermingled with newer friends who live in my computer. And thanks, new commenters who joined the conversation this week! New friends are always welcome!
Speaking of friends, CarpoolQueen was here last night. She and her boys were driving through on the way to her parents’ house. It was a quick trip, but as always, a good one. The time went by too fast, but it always seems to speed up when we’re together. We drank Starbucks–she didn’t even have to win a gift card! Come on over, and I’ll give you the same treatment—and ate white fudge-covered Oreos and winter Oreos (the snowman ones with the red centers). Then we had to temper the sweet taste with handfuls of Fritos. In between bites we talked about everything and nothing. It was a good visit.
However, I was too busy visiting and didn’t get a post ready for this morning. It’s been a busy day, but I’m home now and I’m ready to give away the latest CD by Steven Curtis Chapman. I think many of you are familiar with Steven and probably know about the tragic death of his daughter in May 2008. (If you are unfamiliar with the story, CNN did an interview with him in November and you can read it here.) I downloaded his CD, “Beauty Will Rise,” the first day it was available on iTunes. The day after I downloaded it I spent most of my waking hours in my vehicle and most of that time I spent by myself. I listened to the CD and wondered how in the world Steven Curtis Chapman had gained access to my brain. At one point as I was driving, I turned into an empty parking lot and just sat and listened. Steven Curtis Chapman was singing the songs in my heart that I hadn’t known how to write.
Look at these lyrics from the song “Questions”:
Who are You, God?
‘Cause You are turning out to be so much different than I imagined.
And where are You, God?
‘Cause I’m finding life to be so much harder than I had planned.
You know that I’m afraid to ask these questions
But You know they are there
And if You know my heart the way that I believe You do,
You know that I believe in You
But still I have these questions.
This is not a CD with trite, pat, “smile, because it’s all good with Jesus” lyrics. Don’t misunderstand me. This CD is full of praise and every song on it gives glory to God, but every song on it was obviously written from a place of extreme pain and brokenness. Instead of masking his hurt or keeping his struggles to himself, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote twelve of the most brutally honest, painfully beautiful, raw and real songs I’ve ever heard. And I am so grateful. Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to voice the devastation of grief. I applaud and admire Steven for digging deep to find the most perfectly fitting words and then pairing them with just the right music. I am certain this CD will provide comfort and will even be a catalyst for healing for many.
I’ve never lost a child. I don’t know what that feels like. I do know what it feels like when a parent dies. I am sure that in many ways my pain is very different from Steven’s. But apparently, grief is a universal language, because his heartfelt expressions mirrored my own feelings. This song, in particular, means a lot to me now:
So here’s what I want to do today. I want to give you a copy of “Beauty Will Rise.” Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to give it to a friend who is hurting. You don’t necessarily have to give it to someone who is separated from someone they love by death, although several of the songs speak to that particular kind of loss. Many of the songs on this CD would be helpful to anyone who has a broken heart or is struggling for any reason. And maybe you need to keep the CD for yourself. I would venture to guess that many of you have a deep-seated hurt. You may not have even told anyone about your pain. I would love to give this CD to you in the hopes that it would give voice to your feelings and even turn your heart back towards the only One who can heal it. So, if you win, you don’t have to tell me what you’re going to do with it. I trust you.
Today in the comments, I’d like to know if there is a song or songs that meant a lot to you during a hard time. If you don’t have one or if that’s too hard, or if heavy posts like this make you itchy, you can tell me what Christmas song you would rather not ever hear again. I’ll go first on that one. If I never ever hear “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” ever, ever again, I will not be even one tear-drop sad. In honor of having almost twice as many words as Mr. Hyatt says a good blog post should have, feel free to answer both questions of you like.
*In case you’re new to the party, MGO stands for My Grief Observed. It denotes any post that relates to the journey through grief that I’m currently traveling.