It's been a heavy week. Aside from my hectic last week of school, which involved a flurry of exams and papers, I lost someone dear to me. One of my oldest and closest friends J lost her father to cancer last Saturday. Until last spring, he was a health enthusiast who did yoga and cycled regularly; we all expected him to live as long as his own father, who only passed away within the past two years. I have known Mr. C since I was three years old. He was one of the kindest men I have ever known. He welcomed everyone with open arms. He always made you laugh. He had a dozen funny nicknames for everyone, calling me Margaretta and even Margot Fonteyn (a reference that was lost on my seven-year-old self). I will miss him dearly.
The funeral for Mr. C was yesterday, a beautiful tribute to his generous spirit and the love and admiration that so many people had for him. My best friend came into town (she and I were university roommates with J) and we cried on each other's shoulders while a soloist sang Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". It was a beautiful and heartbreaking day.
If I'm being honest (and why not), this year has been awful, just plain awful. It started on January 1 with the worst flu that Gil and I had had in years and it seems to have gone downhill since then. 12 months later later and we are still no closer to having a child and it feels like a constant cycle of grief: Grief for the baby we may never have, grief for the relationship that Gil and I shared before infertility took over our lives, grief for a man whose life was taken so soon.
While we were walking to church from my mother's house, we passed a long-time neighbour whose own wife lost her fight with early-onset Alzheimer's just over a year ago. Then last night, a high school friend posted on Facebook that his mother is probably in her last days. These are heavy days indeed. I knew that one day we would move into that stage of life when we have to watch our parents decline, but I had always thought that would be decades away.
As a Christian, if I'm being honest, I don't know where God is in all of this. I want to be that smiley-faced woman full of faith that His path is the right one and His timing is perfect, but the truth is that right now, His path feels rocky and arduous, and I don't know where it leads. I'm not saying that I will walk away and take a new path, just that I feel like the best I can muster right now is, in the words of Cohen, "a cold and a broken Hallelujah." I pray it is enough.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
1 Corinthians 4:16-18