Church is still really hard. How do I sit in a room full of people proclaiming the love, unfailing, unending, non-lonliness of Christendom knowing that if my dad felt that, knew it, believed it, he’d still be alive? He identified himself as a believer, and I am not someone to interrogate a person on their faith. But, here I sit, singing songs that he must have sang, wondering if he believed it, or really knew it, or what.
If he had really humbled himself to his addiction, and really submitted to the program, he’d have gotten control over his drinking. As it was he always held back. Was never quite honest or fully invested. You can’t browse through sobriety.
How do I sing of something that could have, would have, should have saved him?
And how do I live with myself wondering or believing that my father might not have known. Was he trying to browse through faith too? Can the glory of God be checked over like a housewife checks a melon at the grocery store?
The Christian church is centered around a death. A death that was graphic, and violent, and to which Jesus submitted. Sin and death are a part of church. But they have new meanings and new connotations for me now. And I can’t turn off those thoughts. They are painful. But I’m not sure how I can continue going, doing, breathing, if I don’t believe myself in the sacrifice of Christ. It’s the only way my failings as a daughter are forgiven. For these moments, my faith is providing me a shield – to ward away some of the questions that surround the survivors of suicide. It’s a place to rest.
Mark 3:28 (The Message translation) “There is nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven.”
Once again I just have to believe that my father’s sins were forgiven even before they were committed. I have to believe God’s love was big enough to cover and cut through the haze of illness, addiction, depression, and despair. God has to be big enough for that. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, what good is a God who isn’t bigger than the problems His creations create? I know God has given us free will, and there are risks associated with that great gift. Risks, consequences, hurt.
The months immediately after a suicide are a time of increased risk for the friends & family of the deceased. It’s hard to face these questions. I’ll never know how much of uncommitted part of my father was will & how much was illness. How much of what he held back was intentional. I just on’t. Only God can, will, can, has ever known our hearts. God knows my heart better than I do.
Right now my heart is hurting. And churches just want to sing about “Sin has lost its power/death has lost its sting” Liars. Sin does have power. Very real power. And death still stings. At least for those still living.