Today’s going to be rough.
I’ve known that for about a month or so; or rather my body and soul have. The way my internal emotional well-being has been lately has proven that at least subconsciously I knew this day was coming, even if I was ignoring the calendar.
The biggest issue I have is that the day means more than what it began to mean last year. Primarily, it’s my birthday today. Now, I’ve never liked to celebrate it anyway (mostly because I don’t like attention, really) and throughout my twenties it only got more solidified as something terrible would always happen on my birthday and just make me not want to do anything anyway. Basically, I am just one of those people who doesn’t prefer to celebrate my birthday. I won’t be upset if someone plans something for me to show up to, but if the choice is fully left up to me, I’d rather the day just pass like any other.
Secondly, this is the day I started at the career of a lifetime. In 2003, just a mere 4-ish months after graduating high school, I was hired on at Disneyland as a Stage Technician to run sound, push boxes, build shows, etc. I loved and enjoyed that job for about 10 years and learned so much and made so many good friends and chosen family. I’ve spent the last five years of it learning more and making more of a way for myself and others through the artistic expression of control technology. It’s been a wild 15 year journey that is still on-going and I like to mark that every October 11th and reflect on how I got here and those who have supported me and prayed for me all this time.
Unfortunately (for us, not him), my dad’s own, difficult, lengthy, arduous battle with his degenerative disease ended last year on this day…on my birthday…on my hire date. I know we have much to rejoice for how long my dad outlasted the many seemed-to-be ends of his life, but this time last year, as he left the hospital on a very clear plan towards the actual end, he barely entered his home on earth only to be whisked away and be present with the Jesus he served, even and especially in his pain.
I’ll never forget how the rest of that night last year went as I rapidly ran out the door and over to my mother’s side. It was and still is one of the hardest car rides I’ve had to date and makes me anxious every time my phone unexpectedly rings. Only to be followed by the remaining portions of 2017; blurred together between my dad’s passing, his memorial service, my mother’s ALS diagnosis, and my own diagnosis, surgery, and slower-than-I’d-like recovery.
There’s an obvious question that this all prompts: where the hell is God in this? Do we ever find God in death? Or in loss? Or in anxiety about the future? While that is not His identity, it is our reality and I find that in all those times where it’s easiest to abandon God as Our Hope, that’s where He has been the most present; sitting by our sides, crying with us. In our pain of trying to reconcile who He is to our understanding of our present situations, He is there. With. Us.
Those were my thoughts last year and they are my thoughts now. In all the above where I see God in my joy, I know that He must be there in my sorrow too. If I can’t rejoice in Him then, who do I believe He is? God in my easiness and not my difficulties? Or the God in my everything? I will choose that every time I can.