I haven't written much on this blog. I used to write a great deal, at times several posts a day at Shuck and Jive. Facebook drew much of that energy away from blogging for many people including me. Time previously dedicated to blogging now goes to Religion For Life. The main change is losing Zach. My passion for writing and my passion for the causes for which I wrote has flattened. Since his death I have written about my grief, but lately I have written little. This blog has become a space to park my sermon texts. That's about it.
A few weeks ago I was listening to a story on NPR about a songwriter. I have forgotten his name. He was talking about the first music album he had completed since his wife's death eight years ago. It took him eight years to find his muse. As I listened I found myself both relieved and discouraged about the length of time. It is normal to feel flat for a long time. That is a relief to know I am not alone in that. But eight years is a long time to be in a funk. Losing a son to suicide may take even longer.
I was reading some old posts at Shuck and Jive and realized that just isn't me anymore. I cared about a lot of things. I was cocky, snarky, edgy and ready to scrap. I am not that at all any longer. I try to avoid issues now. I don't trust myself. I just get angry. I am angry and impatient. It is not pretty or exciting. It is actually boring. That is life right now. Flat. Eight more years of this? Maybe. Maybe more.
I have streamlined my work to do what I think I have to do. I spend time on my strengths and rely on them. It may or may not be enough, but it is what it is. I avoid if I can all the little hassles that come with the job. I really don't have the patience and I don't trust myself not to blow up at someone. So far we have been able to keep above water.
Some have wanted me to be more "spiritual." That is sweet. I never have been spiritual even on a good day. I haven't had many good days since June 28, 2012. I don't even know what spiritual means but I am pretty sure that either I don't have it or I am not it. Asking me to be spiritual is like asking a frog to sing opera. I may have a number of gifts and skills, but being spiritual is not one of them. Even so, on occasion I try to sound spiritual but I doubt I am even close. Then I feel like a trained dog jumping through hoops. Most of the time I don't try to please. I just do what I do. I am what I am. I will do the best I can with what I do have. That will either be good enough or it won't be and I am sure I'll find out. The best advice I have ever internalized is, "When in doubt, go with your strengths."
The insightful among you will realize that I am not airing laundry with this post. I am writing about grief. I am writing about grief long after everyone else is finished waiting for you to get over it. But you are not "over it" and you need to deal with all the expectations and whatever else when you are, in reality, crippled. I am not asking for pity. I am not asking for anything. I am writing about my experience. Perhaps it resonates with others. Perhaps it helps you understand what some grieving people might be experiencing. Thus it is ministry.