when our fists clench tight

we're asked to walk around with hands wide open - ready to receive the good and the bad - knowing all things are from Him and for our good. but there are moments in life where tragedy makes you want to clench your fists so tight your fingers ache.

saturday night, russ and i went to a movie with some friends. laughing and goofing off, we walked up to a car with a flat tire. "there's a nail in it," russ said and we waited for about ten minutes while he puffed it up enough to make our drive home safe. i wasn't worried though. a nail in the tire is hardly a tragedy. and while there was no way we could afford any sort of work done on the car, i knew God had this. my hands stayed open.

we got home late and devonte greeted us with his usual "hola" as he saunters down the stairs. we said hi and russ grabbed gatsby to take him out back. devonte looked at me. "man...i had one of the scariest moments of my life tonight." i tilted my head and listened. apparently, a phone call was made about a house in our neighborhood being robbed. cops came and questioned devonte. coming into our house, looking around at the pictures, finally asking him to step outside and even cuffing him in the process. he proved he lived there by punching some numbers in the alarm system. shaken, i just said "that's horrible...i'm so sorry." and when he was finished and walking back up stairs i joined russ on the patio and filled him in on the story.

knowing we needed answers, we resolved to call the station to see if they could give us information. was it our house that was called in? did they catch the people supposedly breaking and entering into homes? did they really cuff our son? i remember looking at russ, holding his face in my hands, and saying

i can't straighten this out...but i know Who can...and i know He will. some how, some way, everything is going to be okay.

and he nodded and kissed my forehead.

we both walked into the bedroom, tired from a full day. russ filled gatsby's food bowl and i started changing. i was in the restroom when i heard russ open the front door.

and then the screams.

i knew before it even happened what was coming. gatsby had this insane love for a neighborhood cat, and every time he saw him, it was game on, sucka. no hollering, no screaming, no harsh words would bring him back to us. it took the cat disappearing and him snapping back into reality for him to turn and stare at us as he pranced back into the living room, panting and excited.

he saw the cat saturday and he ran for it.

i heard it from the bathroom. i remember the disbelief, the horror, the breaking of my heart before even leaving that tiny place of refuge. i remember staring at his food bowl and thinking, oh no oh no oh no oh no as i heard russ' voice crack and call my name.

by the time i ran outside, russ was running for gatsby's body in the middle of the road and i was in hysterics in our driveway. the pain, the confusion, the darkness overwhelmed me and i could only think, really?! really, God? did we not have enough on our plate? did we not have enough to cry over you had to take our dog, too?

and my hands clenched tight.

a family stopped and comforted us as best they can, russ kneeling next to gatsby's broken body and me weeping in the driveway. my eyes shut tight against the images: the knowledge russ saw everything, the breaking of my heart all over again at this thought, the way his eyes were red from crying over his best friend.

lo siento...lo siento...the woman rubbing my back kept saying. i heard neighbors' doors crack open to see what the ruckus was about, and un perro uttered under quiet breaths before shutting the door again. i couldn't take it - i ran to get devonte to help and fell apart in our bedroom - hands shaking, breath shallow.

i just don't understand, God...and please be near? please? running through my head and crashing against each other.

and just like so many nights in our marriage, russ and i fell asleep in each other's arms, tears caked dry in the folds of our neck and arms.

sunday morning, we reached for numbness like a security blanket only to have it snatched away. realizations came all too sudden, and once again we were broken.

please God...show us Your goodness. show us Your mercy. give us something to hold on to - something of hope?

we said this through tears and gasps - everything seeming to fall out from under us.

and like clockwork, His message came loud and clear. sitting on the front row, holding my love's hand for strength against the questions, the worship band started playing and i didn't need to hear but three chords for me to start weeping with understanding.

He is jealous for me. loves like a hurricane, i am a tree - bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

and for a brief moment, our afflictions were eclipsed by His glory - the knowing that He's in control and He still loves us and some how, some way, He's bringing new life into us through this hard moment...this eucharisteo. we may not see it for awhile, we may understand this afternoon - it doesn't matter. what does matter is our perseverance through suffering. allowing our hearts to remain soft and pliable to His touch and knowing that even though He bruises us, it is Him who heals us.

so this is what i'm thankful for today - His love for me seen in one of the hardest nights and the ability to once again open my hands - because He will always be with me. always.

with ann

{0105} the family stopping to stand with us in our grief {0106} devonte setting his shoulders square and helping russ in the midst of chaos and pain {0107} the texts and tweets and e-mails from friends saying their prayers were with us {0108} lunch with friends and chats offering a reprieve from the memories {0109) borrowed cars when i'm stranded {0110} strength of my love's embrace - even when he's grieving {0111} the lone yellow flower sticking out from gatsby's grave - a reminder of a brother's sorrow & life in the midst of death {0112} devonte & russell texting each other worship lyrics..."he is jealous for me" russ said and devonte answered, "oh how He loves."

Posted on May 16, 2011 .