Friday, June 17, 2011

How to Begin

If I were Julie Andrews, then I might have some neat little song to break into here with cute little witticisms that would have a flock of children (all clothed in re-purposed curtains, of course) hanging on my every word.  I suppose I have much to be thankful for, especially my taste in curtains, right now, but I don't seem to have words, much less a melody and a handful of rhyming couplets.

I have spent some time this past week reacquainting myself with my husband.  As I have looked through old photos, seen snippets of videos, or even found Emmett's old journals, I find myself remembering Emmett before cancer, and it is like falling in love with a stranger.  I had forgotten how his carefree laugh sounded or how much he could eat or how well he played percussion.  It was nice to remember life together before cancer, hard, but nice.

Grief is a strange companion.  Because of our schedules, Emmett and I were used to long periods apart.  So in some ways, I still feel like I am waiting for the full awareness of his absence to fall on me, like I'm walking in some crazy dream.  Other times, my heart physically hurts inside my chest as if it is being squeezed by giant hands.

So I come back to writing without any particular words or wisdom to share.  I've been swimming in the psalms recently, just to dwell with other writers overwhelmed and disoriented by waves of emotion.  When Emmett was helping me with this blog, psalm 51:15-17 came to mind:

 Open my lips, Lord,
   and my mouth will declare your praise. 

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
   you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart
   you, God, will not despise.

Although this psalm came from a heart overwhelmed with guilt, I find that loss leaves me with feelings very similar to guilt.  Not that I feel guilty, but that shame and unworthiness are remarkably similar feelings to emptiness and loneliness.  With shame we realize that all our acts are filthy before God, and with emptiness we realize that all our acts are meaningless without God.  The awareness of sin brings a profound sense that God does not have to love us (though he chooses to love us rather recklessly), and loss tempts us to believe that God does not love us.  So I have been crying out with David for the Lord to open my lips, to delight in my broken spirit, and to restore unto me the joy of my salvation.

I do not know what this blog will become.  I don't really much care at the moment.  I write to make sense of my life, and so I suppose I will be writing for a long time.  Feel free to join me.


  1. I've always said that it is amazing how similar seemingly different emotions feel and manifest. Psalms 51 is a favorite of mine, along with Psalms 91 and Psalms 10:17. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, you put into sensible words things with which my mind and heart grapple. Selfishly, I too hope you do write for a long time, so that you can continue to minister to us who are also journeying to make sense of our lives.

  2. It is so refreshing to read what you write. I have been going through so much with what Robert has been dealing with it. He deals with it so much better than I do really, and he is the one in so much pain! Often I think he wishes he could just die or if the doctors could just cut to have no feeling whatsoever, and never walk, just be numb. But there is no escape B/C he just doesn't have any disease that will take his life right now. I think you are brave to write about your journey. I have been so quiet about my faith and my feelings, my journey. You inspire me to dive into the Word and get closer to my Heavenly Father. Because he is the one and Everything. My Hiding Place. My Rock. I would have crumpled up into a ball and died of despair had He not carried me through all these months...going on two years now since his pain started. Just recently I have started to have more peace about all this, but it is so hard sometimes. It is a strange way to live. I feel like I am growing cold because I am sort of getting used to his suffering. I don't understand. And what do my children think? They have sort of learned to live with it too. So if they see someone suffering, are they just going to shrug their shoulders and say that's life? Oh Lord, let me be compassionate towards my husband and not forget he needs that so much! As I have heard before when Christ told Lazarus to come out of the tomb, we can apply that to our own lives. It is as if Jesus was saying to me, "Amy, come out of the tomb of self." Take a look around. Be alive.

  3. Looking forward to hearing about your continuing journey.

  4. I know we don't speak at church, probably because I don't know what to say to you. I have read your blog faithfully for over a year now and have cared for your family as if we are close friends. We have been praying for your family daily for a long time.
    On the day that Emmett went to be with Jesus, I called Tim and read your blog to him at work. I started crying when you talked about Quinn and had a hard time reading it out loud. Little Josiah came by and listened a while and asked if I was talking about Quinn in his Sunday School class. I told him yes and he said, "But why are you crying?" I told him that Quinn's daddy had gone to be with Jesus. And Josiah, in a way only a 4 year old could bring encouragment, matter of factly said, "But Mommy, he has a new body now!"
    "...for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

  5. I needed to share this post with you from our previous pastor, now a missionary in Hungary.

  6. Wendy,
    I have been checking to see if you had started this blog, and I'm so glad you have. I hoped you would explain the title. Beautiful. My favorite part of teaching English is reading what others write, so I know this will be a favorite place of mine on the internet. Thank you for continuing to be willing to share your heart. We all love you.

  7. I am humbled and in awe of our God who is the creator of how many billions of galaxies and cared enough to create the catepillar! (can you tell Im starting Crazy Love?!) Im so thankful how He has opened your heart to share such raw pain and love with us. Words are cheap but I love you and praise the God who loves you too!

  8. Sweet Wendy, I found myself thinking of you in church this morning during worship. I have found that I can let Emmett go; and truly, I wish I could join him now. But you— I find myself on the edge of tears often, and this morning wept unabashedly as I sang "At the Foot of the Cross":

    Trade these ashes in for beauty
    And wear forgiveness like a crown
    Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
    I lay every burden down
    At the foot of the cross

    In my mind, I saw you grasping the feet of our wonderful Lord and Savior, even as they were nailed to the cross, and knew that "the feet of mercy" will carry you, not just until the pain lessens, but all the way back to Emmett's side.


  9. I just realized I switched identities on you. Susannah is Suzi Wollman, Emmett's cousin.

  10. Wendy,
    You were in my thoughts and prayers today.
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and feelings so honestly.
    I'm glad you are writing, and I'm gonna keep
    checking in.
    Guess I'll see you soon...we can walk around the


  11. You do not know me, but I found your blog through a mutual friend, Carly. I am praying for you and your son, and your entire family. May the Lord walk with you through this journey without your husband.

  12. Wendy, I continue to pray for you and Quinn often knowing that the crushing pain you feel is so real and so hard. Emmett was blessed to have you Wendy. You loved so well and I know you are being held and loved now by our Savior.

  13. Dear Wendy,
    Although your journey has been beyond hard, your expression of it has been beautiful and touching and has brought glory to your heavenly Father. I hope you will soon begin the process of publishing your previous blog entries of yours and Emmett's in book form. I know that may be incredibly old-fashioned. But you have a wonderful writer's voice that connects with people. The sale proceeds could benefit Team Emmett. And hard copies are easy to share when internet is not available. Just a thought.

    Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. My prayers continue for you and Quinn and all of Emmett's family.