We have a few mantras within our family. Remember Who You Are is one that was passed on to us by pop, my dad. He always said that to us whenever we would go out. A new one that we stumbled on this past Christmas is BeLive. I bought a sign, on purpose, with the word on it–still paid full price even though the second ‘e’ was missing. But we have turned it into something to remind us to be present. To be live. I’ll likely write more on these phrases in posts to come, but for today I will return to one that has become a bit dormant.
I love you, no matter what. No. Matter. What. That was a mantra that I would say to the kids quite often. It springs out of the great worry of my life. One that reviving the phrase now is targeted at, honestly. But I get ahead of myself…
Those words blossomed in our home. And they spilled over into the community of folks that frequented our home. My sister made a beautiful framed piece with those words. My brother in law spent a lot of his time and energy and money in order to craft the letters that spelled out No Matter What so that we could put them in our yard. I love you, no matter what. It was quite a meaningful slogan for us.
But then… it really was right around the time that my bro in law was working on the letters. Late 2017 and into early 2018. Things fell apart. The community of folks that we belonged to fractured. The unthinkable really. Turns out our seemingly vibrant collection of saints wasn’t immune to human frailty. Sarah and I were devastated. Broken. It seems that no matter what maybe wasn’t as real as I had imagined.
And don’t misunderstand. Most of the reckoning came from my own reflection and introspection. I don’t know that I will ever fully understand how things unfolded as they did, and so quickly. How friends we thought were so close really weren’t after all. I have spent a great deal of time over the past years examining my own role. My own perceptions. Motivations. Shortcomings. Some of the things were out of our control. Others, seemingly, weren’t. And for those relationships, I have long questioned my own commitment to No Matter What.
So, after a few attempts at humor as our friend Matt packed up to move to Stoneshire, we rearranged the letters no more and put them aside the building. Jumbled. Dormant. I still feel a good amount of sorrow about this splintering. About all my mistakes.
But, it’s time, I think, to revive the phrase No Matter What. A Resurrection.
I find myself now pretty knotted up. Tense. Fearful. I’ve written some about my gut issues the last few months, and the long anticipated doc visits and probable scopes are upon me. And I am having a hard time shaking the nerves. The sense of impending doom.
I had a book recommended to me yesterday after I had put up an Instagram poll and when I looked up the book I found the author was dealing with the cancer I hope I don’t have. And then I saw a story about a 43 year old man that died–though his obituary where his wife called him ‘dead sexy‘ did make me smile a bit.
I wish I could shake this stuff off. I wish I wasn’t so weak. I believe that when I am weak He is strong and all that. I really do. I know that suffering brings sharpening. But I don’t like it. And I don’t like the fact that I can’t master these fears. It feels like a lack of self-control. A piece of the fruit I have never had much success digesting.
And I admit I feel guilty. I feel guilty feeling a sense of anxiety over what I am only imagining at this point. Because I know folks are really and truly suffering. I feel guilty when my symptoms don’t match how bad things could be. How can I be glad about someone else having it worse than me? I surely am a sinner. And I don’t mean that in a self defeating or deflating kind of way. I say it in a self recognition need for grace and mercy and forgiveness kind of way.
So. No Matter What. A driving force, as I said, behind the phrase… a driving force for the creation of this online journal was to stay as connected to my family as I could. As I can. For them to know me. To know that I know them. I see them. They are a part of me.
But I lost my faith in that phrase. I lost my faith in the meaning. In my ability to fulfill that mantra. But it isn’t up to me. It just is. It. Just. IS.
I apologize to Sarah and Sam and Sydney and Isaac. I’m sorry for not believing that you love me no matter what. If I get a bad diagnosis now or in the future. I’m sorry for the unhealthy grip I have on life, even though it is driven by my desire to not see you sad or suffering. But I know You will love me through it all and through to the other side. And you know you will receive that same love from me. NO MATTER WHAT. Even as I struggle with fear. I am scared. Even as I experience weakness and react in ways I wish I didn’t. You love me. NO MATTER WHAT. I know that you do.
And I know that Good wins. I know that the Christ has set us all free. That Grace is. That Hope is. That losing life is the way to gain it. Letting go. “Be more involved with life and less attached to it.” Saw that on the insta today. I know that if the worst things that my fickle and feeble mind can imagine come to pass, that the Christ is. That our Hope is sustained. That Grace is life giving. Eternally.
So… please pray for me. Battling through a difficult Sunday emotionally and mentally and ending up realizing how I can rest in No Matter What doesn’t mean that I am not still weak. I will likely still experience the floods of anxiety as I go in for tests and await results. God I wish I didn’t. I long to be set free from that. So I do covet your prayers, as they say.
But more than anything, please pray that I can find real and true rest in the No Matter What Love that I receive from my family. That is created and freely given by our Maker. Perhaps a person I resonate with the most is the guy in scripture who says “I believe, please help me in my unbelief.”
Yes indeed. Grace and Peace my friends.