Many people have said to me over the last 4 years, you are so strong, your faith is so strong, your family is so strong. I have tried to explain that I/we are not strong and what strength you see is not us but our deep abiding faith in God.
I’ve thought about this a lot over the last few years. What makes people think I/we are so strong?
It most certainly is not the fact that we are strong! It is not the fact that we don’t share our sadness and grief, it is certainly not the fact that all of us have not been a hot mess throughout our journey of grief the last four years.
ALL people suffer in life that is a fact. No one escapes the fact that at times life is hard. We are all human and life on earth will never be perfect.
We could have gone silently into the night and avoided the discussion or we could share openly and remember them. We talk about them publicly and privately, because Mike, Jamie, and Lillian are loved and not a day goes by that we don’t think about them.
When you raise five kids as Mike use to say, “someone is always having a bad day.” He would say this when we were trying to go somewhere and a have a good family day and one of the children was sad, crying or didn’t want to go.
I have found this is the same way as we walk through our grief. Someone in our family is always having a bad day, no rhythm or reason…just hit with waves of grief. No one sees that day coming but we understand it. We do our best to love each other through it and know that it will pass and tomorrow it will be someone else’s to have a bad day.
We talk about them because Mike, Jamie,and Lillian are never far from our minds. Contrary to what most people think we want to hear their name’s and hear stories they shared with our loved ones. In many ways, we have moved on and yet we haven’t. But, I/we have ALL changed.
As I sit on my deck this cool, Michigan morning I am thinking of each of my children and how out of their pain and grief we have all grown closer to God and grown in our empathy for other people’s suffering.
For me personally, when I hear stories of Chad, Justina, Jahi my heart breaks for the pain their families endure and I can pray with compassion. I know them and their pain all too well, I see it in their eyes and read it in their posts.
Our priorities in this life are just NOT the same
We emphasize and weep with those who are suffering and we can’t just scroll through Facebook and causally say, “I will pray for you”. We pray or we don’t say we will. We understand their pain because we have felt it…experienced it.
So when folks say, “your family is so strong” I believe what they are really saying is not that we are strong but that we are vulnerable and have tried to share our journey authentically with others and not avoid the conversation of our grief, pain, and faith.
In this world in which we now live, full of sound bites and social media our family has done our best to not hide in a closet or pretend all is right in our world, all of the time. I think people identify with that because everyone at one time or the other is going through something. Sometimes it is hard to be vulnerable and lay it all there and yet speaking the truth is many time’s not easy regardless if the conversation is about grief or anything.
When we lay it all out there for you to read we are being vulnerable, we are sharing who we are, our true selves, our grief, pain, and HOPE. This is who and what we are and forever will be.
We haven’t pretended life is good ALL the time because life on planet Earth is never void of pain for any of us. Yet no one wants to talk about pain or suffering on Social Media and especially not death. We have also shared what we do know and that is that God is good ALL the time even in the midst of our pain and sorrow.
…even when we question WHY?
God is good and someday we will know, and understand. (Although we are not convinced it will even matter when we get there and are reunited with our loved ones’ forever.
C S Lewis referred to earth as a Shadowland. A preparation for the reality of what is to come. Where nothing will block the light of the sun/son and we will SEE the real thing…Jesus, Heaven, Earth as it was meant to be.
“Farewell to Shadowlands” is the title of the last chapter of the book The Last Battle, the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia series. On the last page, C. S. Lewis writes:
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are–as you used to call it in the Shadowlands–dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning chapter one of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
So the Caulk’s are weak, and yet we are strong, but the strength is not from us or what you think you see in our family but comes from the Creator of the Universe who projects His strength through us and in us. Who is STILL changing us and molding us into His image.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. I Corinthians 12:9-10
You leaving us does not change us for the worst but allowed us to believe more than ever, and long for our true home…out of the Shadowlands where we will be together forever.
See you soon! We love you for eternity.