Saturday, April 9

house of cards

As I've said before, I love C.S. Lewis. Earlier yesterday afternoon, I realized that I had never listened to one of his broadcasts (I was assuming something existed, somewhere, with his voice.) So I found a YouTube video last night, and sat there smiling like a goofball, hearing one of my heroes go on about "prayrr".

I've felt in a funk all week. I've been tired and overwhelmed, and tired of being overwhelmed. I've entertained "crazy" ideas... ideas of running away, hopping a plane, starting over, medication, car wrecks... wednesday was not a healthy day for me. (My husband is amazing though, and redeemed the day by setting out notes of encouragement all over the house, reminding me that it's okay and i'm safe to be myself here.) All week I've felt in a wash of self-pity, jumbling around with discouragement, disappointment, unmet expectations, and bruised pride.

I don't know if you've felt this way before or not, but I've discovered that it's extremely hard for me to hear from the Lord when I'm wallowing. Feelings, and feelings, and feelings...

So I turned to Lewis to find some commiseration and camaraderie - he is good for that sort of thing. And aha! He sums up and validates my emotions:

"And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. If gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn't seem worth starting anything." 

"This is one of the things I'm afraid of. The agonies, the mad midnight moments, must, in the course of nature, die away. But what will follow? Just this apathy, this dead flatness? Will there come a time when I no longer ask why the world is like a mean street, because I shall take the squalor as normal? Does grief finally subside into boredom tinged by fain nausea?"

Now armed with such validation from the C.S. Lewis, I can feel better about wallowing.

But the truth of it is, I'm prideful. And fearful. And ashamed.

Prideful - If I'm going to be messy, I want to be beautifully so. I don't want to actually be vulnerable; just give the appearance. This is why I never really sob with others - it's too raw. I want to look "put together", even in grief. I want to be the model of how to do this. I want to be inspiring, and praised for being so. I want, I want, I want...

Fearful - What am I not truly afraid of? I am afraid of my life amounting to nothing (enter Pride yet again, assuming that I am a Big something). Afraid of this grief being wasted, summed up as a mere chapter in my life. Afraid of missing a point, if there is any. Afraid that there's not a point. Afraid of failing. Afraid of cheapening Gwendolyn. Afraid of never having what I want (a family). Afraid that I'm wrong after all and God is not really who He says He is, and I will be proven a fool.

Lord, You're teaching me that I am a house of cards, building and rebuilding my own defenses and arguments and shelter. It's too hard for me to trust, God. It's too hard to accept that there's nothing left to do with suffering but to suffer it. It's also too much for me to think that there will be a day that i'm okay - should I be? It seems wrong to be. I don't know what you're doing. And I don't know what to do. But my eyes are on You, God. I need You to knock down this house of cards, and again for as many times as I keep building it.

I have built a city here
half with pride and half with fear
I just wanted a safer place to hide
I don't wanna be safe tonight

I need You like a hurricane
thunder crashing, wind and rain
to tear my walls down
I'm only Yours now

I need You like a burning flame
a wildfire untamed
to burn these walls down
I'm only Yours now


  1. I love that C.S. Lewis quote! He has such a way of eloquently writing what my heart feels!

  2. Hey Erin,

    I never expected you to write me back. That was very sweet of you. I'm just sorry you had to view my blog while trying to contact me. Talk about pouring salt in your wound. If you ever need anything please e-mail me at Your story has completely touched my heart and my life. As I said before the Holy Spirit started speaking to me again after I read your blog. It's been years. I really felt crazy leaving you that message from Him last night.
    I know you don't want THIS to be YOUR story. I'm praying diligently for you. Thanks for writing me back.


  3. I have read nothing lately that I resonate with more than this post. I love you!