Some of you know that I am a closet NCIS fan. I watched it mostly during season 8 – 11. Even though I was heartbroken when Ziva left, and I still think Bishop is a sad replacement for her, I occasionally watch the free episodes posted on CBS to keep up with what was happening with the team.
Providentially, (It’s amazing how God can move and work through anything) on Wednesday of last week I watched “Scope”. It followed a marine sniper, Davis, who was recovering from serious wounds, both physical and emotional. Gibbs, the team leader, was charged with trying to get through to Davis and in so doing Gibbs ended up dealing with some of his own wounds as well.
At the end of the episode Davis thanks Gibbs for his help and says:
You know, the thing is, I was fighting myself. Trying to be some empty version of what I was before. But I think I need to try and find a way to be who I am now. You know what I mean?
That simple statement sent me off crying and by the emotional end of the episode I was sobbing. It felt good. I’ve been thinking for over a month that I needed a good cry, but it didn’t happen. Probably because the times that were sad and I was expecting tears I kept my guard up. But this caught me by surprise, hitting me deep in my soul.
I am that marine. I have been fighting myself, trying to be some empty version of what I was before.
The last six years of my life have been filled with wonderful blessings and joys, but also of things that were traumatic for me personally or for my community. In 2010 I contracted Lyme disease, from which my body has never fully recovered, in 2011 I had the joy of getting married but our first couple years were a hard transition, in 2014 I nearly cut off my hand, and in 2015 I lost a dear friend to suicide.
All of those things have taken a huge toll on who I am, and I often struggle with trying to go back to who I was pre-lyme. I miss things about who I was before I cut hand. I am weary with the weight of loss. And the fight to return to pre-all these things can be exhausting.
It was providential to watch that marine struggle with accepting his mangled and scarred body as part of him. It helped me to realize that I don’t have to go back. Who I have become as an outcome of those struggles is not a bad thing. It’s been a hard journey, it’s been a journey full of loss, but God has used those things to shape me, to start humbling me, to make a tad more compassionate, and that’s good. I don’t have to let trauma define me and cast a shadow over my life, but I can embrace the ways that God has used them for good.
Since Wednesday I’ve been thinking about loss a lot, especially in conjunction with the Resurrection. Jesus left the glory of heaven and took on human form. (If that is not loss I don’t know what is.) He died for our sins, paying the debt we owed to God, and then rose again. But when He rose he was still the God-man. He did not throw off His humanity. He became the firstborn of the dead, the first to have that glorified human body.
Jesus suffered great loss for us but He never reverted back to pre-incarnation. He’s returned to His glory, but even more glorious. He didn’t reject His loss, rather He embraced what He had gained, and amazingly, what He gained was us. Reconciliation between God and man was accomplished because Jesus lost much, because Jesus trusted His good Father to turn that loss into something beautiful.
So as I think the big things and the small things I have lost, I am trying to keep it in the perspective of the empty grave.
I may never have as much energy as I used to, and I may always have a twinge of Bells palsy. I may never like wearing skirts again. I may never play the piano or sign again. Maybe drawing will always be a bit frustrating because I can’t feel my pencil. Maybe the 22nd will always a sad day.
But whatever I have lost from these traumas, and whatever I am going to lose in future trials, I know that they are for my good and that my Heavenly Father is going to use them to make me more like Jesus. Will it be painful? Yes. Will I experience loss? Yes. Will I struggle to believe that God is good and faithful? Oh, absolutely. But I hope that I will be better at trusting Him in the process of healing, and that I will not fight so much to return to pre-whatever; that I will rather embrace the loss as a part of God’s shaping of me, as a part of my story.
Happy Easter all. Glory be to the one who accepted loss and considered us to be worth that loss so that we could gain heaven and fellowship with Him.