The best way over’s through…
Johnnyswim//Let it Matter
This line from a favorite song seemed to be on repeat in my mind last Sunday. While it primarily references the heartbreak and grief that come in loss of a relationship, it seems applicable. Because honestly, grief is grief. And, unfortunately, the only way over is through.
I laughed when I looked up the rest of the rest of the lyrics--
Escape is a waste ain't no use in hiding you know the best way over's through If it matters let it matter If your heart's breaking let it ache Catch those pieces as they scatter Know your hurt is not in vain Don't hide yourself from the horror Hurt today here tomorrow If it's fragile and it shatters Let it matter, let it matter
The irony of these lyrics paired with my day was not lost on me. You see, I spent the morning hiding in a church bathroom.
Because my heart is breaking.
Today was the first Sunday after our church’s final service. If you know me, you know that I’m a church girl through and through. So, I promised myself and Jesus that I’d be in a back pew somewhere this Sunday. I promised to show up through the pain. And I did.
But y’all. It was not easy.
A little vulnerability here-- I was one traffic light away from the church about 15 minutes before service was going to start. I had high hopes of sneaking in and out of service unseen, unknown. I should have know what a lofty goal this was. First off, I’m a pastor’s kid. I don’t know how to be late for church. Unless, of course I am late, in which case I skip and go to the next service altogether because ain’t nobody got patience for the pastor’s daughter who can’t get to church on time. So, while 15 minutes early seemed late to me (surely chairs need to be set up and tech will need troubleshooting...it’s a hard habit to break y’all), this is in fact early, not late. Upon this realization, I naturally pulled in to the nearest parking lot and sat aimlessly for 12 minutes because every good church girl knows there is no such thing as sitting unseen in a church parking lot in the South. Nice try, honey… I naively assumed that leaving myself only 2 minutes before service would allow me to walk in through an empty hallway because clearly everyone would be seated. Bless. I made it to the church steps before the first person greeted me by name. By the time I had escaped to hide in a corner of the bathroom stall, I had been greeted exactly three times by name. Let me insert something here-- this is exactly what church should be like. People should be all kinds of precious and hug and greet one another, remembering names and faces. In any other scenario, it would have been perfect. However, I was dead set on hiding, on remaining unseen. I didn’t think I could answer one more question about church and family and life. The small town encounters over lunch and in grocery store aisles that unintentionally forced me to explain our situation had drained my very last ounce of desire for conversation. So there I stood, hiding in the bathroom. Unfortunately, there is a limited time frame for which you can hide in a bathroom without incurring judgment. Especially if you happen to love shiny, easily identifiable, sparkly flip flops. Bathroom stall judgments are easily made when your shoes rat you out and I couldn’t have the woman next to me in service connecting those shoes with my face. While I didn’t want to face people, I also knew I’d reached my maximum safe time. So I stepped out, killed a few extra minutes by carefully applying chapstick in the mirror, and snuck into service.
I’m pretty aware that I haven’t grieved the loss of our church yet. The funny thing about grief is that we get absolutely zero control over the timetable. That’s why the tears streaming down my face during worship this morning caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them, but I couldn’t escape them as we sang words like “when there’s pain in the offering, blessed be your name.” Sometimes the offering, the showing up, it hurts like hell. But we show up anyways, even if it means we hide in the bathroom first.
I’ve grieved a lot of things in my short 23 years. Loss has sought to write its legacy all over my life, but Jesus has won. At times I’ve grieved well and at times my grief has looked like empty tequila bottles and razor blades to my wrist. So you could say, maybe, that I have a bit of street cred when it comes to grief. Here’s what I know to be true though. Johnnyswim was onto something... The only way over is through. So when the tears come, we push through. When we feel worn, we show up. When we’re not enough, the only one who ever could be comes through on our behalf.