I grew up going to church, memorizing my way through Sunday school and reading the Bible. In those days it was the normal thing to be dropped off by the morning school bus at one of the handful of churches on Wednesday mornings. I have to laugh because the only segregation I knew as a child was religion, and the only debate was which organized church was getting into heaven.
A bit different from how I worship today, but still the same God. Growing up we wore our best clothes on Sunday, never questioned the routine of the service or where we sat each week. The right side, second from the back. Why the back? I guess it was the safe place to worship. The timid-people pew I’ll call it. It’s where my family felt comfortable and safe. Thank God Steve and I had a child when joining our first church together. Children belonged in the back few rows and that’s where we as our own new family found our familiar place.
Over the years I grew deeper in my faith, feared God a bit less. I learned to have a relationship with him, I learned to talk to him, worship him, praise him in song and dance. I pretty much thought I had this Christian thing down. Until life got hard, really hard. I very quickly recognize the two missing pieces to this puzzle called life; faith and trust. I maybe thought I understood faith: “it’s a religion.” I maybe even thought I knew trust: “tomorrow would come.”
Throughout Grant’s addiction I prayed. I prayed for what I wanted to be in control of. I prayed with intentions of getting my way, that with prayer and faith sobriety would be given, that if I begged and pleaded enough God would heal my son.
Then, the unthinkable happened. I made bargains with God early in life that I would live a good life, a life that served him if only he would answer one prayer. Please, God, don’t ever take one of my children.
Grant’s death was the ultimate blow to my heart. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. There were even moments I didn’t want to live. I cried constantly and found no peace, I didn’t even know how to pray any more. For the first time in my life I realized I never really gave much thought to heaven. Believing in heaven is trust. Knowing I’ll see my boy again… that’s faith.
I went to Sunday School, reading the bible and hearing stories about how great a place heaven was, no tears, no sickness, no night or day. It sounded good to me, yet it didn’t really sound real. I remember nights I’d lay in bed and worry about dying. I wondered if there really was a place called heaven or if it was just a made-up story. Heaven felt mysterious to me and I had no desire to get there any too soon. Heaven became real the day my Grant went there! Heaven remains my hope, heaven is where my boy resides. As a mother I had to know, better yet I needed to understand where my boy was. I needed to find some sort of comfort in death because the fear of it was swallowing me alive. I trusted God but I no longer trusted life. My heart only new the horrible pain of losing my child. As furious as I was at God I knew I had to find peace to find Grant.
I just wanted a glimpse of heaven, that’s all I wanted, just a peek. I needed to know Grant was okay, that he was at peace. I needed to know that it was okay to be happy again and I needed to know there was a purpose for life without him here on earth. I had to let go. I had to let go of anger, to find calm, to find God, to find Grant. Reminiscing all the stories from Sunday school days, leaning into that childlike trust is where I found myself. The faith instilled in my heart as a young child without even understanding at the time when in my life I would have to lean into my child like faith. Leaning onto that faith is where I saw my glimpse of heaven!