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Dear God, I hate you…

lean into the (1)

I thought for many years that I was good at grief.  That, after losing my sister unexpectedly when she was just eighteen, I knew how to deal, knew what to expect, knew how to navigate unforeseen loss.  And then I got the call that my dad had died…

This loss was different.  This one has affected me in ways I hadn’t anticipated.  And my anger was probably the most surprising thing.  I was really, really pissed off.

I wasn’t ready for this loss.  I wasn’t ready to live without my Daddy.  And someone had to be blamed for that.  Someone had to be responsible, and in the back of my mind, I thought someone needed to pay a price.  In my grief-induced state, I shot the blame at my dad’s doctor.

My dad had undergone a nuclear stress test just months before he died.  And he’d complained bitterly in those months about how bad the test made him feel.  How he had started to have a pain, like indigestion, but that he knew it couldn’t be his heart because the stress test would have shown it, and his doctor said it hadn’t.

But in the weeks after his death, as we waiting for the autopsy results and tried to piece together what had happened, I invented the scenario in my mind.  I even contemplated the attorneys I would hire to seek justice from the clearly inept cardiologist who had missed the signs and possibly caused my daddy’s death.

I had tunnel vision about it.  I convinced myself the doctor was to blame.  Even when my poor mom gently told more than once that my daddy had been drinking and smoking again,  I still knew it was the doctor’s fault.

I remember sitting on my parents’ couch with my mom and reading each page of the autopsy, looking for the evidence I knew I would need, seeking every morsel of potential liability.  And I remember my mom’s tearful eyes as she said to me, “If I had a heart problem today, the only doctor I would want to go to is your Daddy’s doctor.  Daddy loved that doctor, and the doctor really liked him, too.  I don’t believe he did anything wrong.”

And that almost broke me.  Because I still needed desperately for there to be a reason.  For there to be someone out there who was at fault. And so, I swung that anger around to my dad.  Why hadn’t he quit smoking?  Why hadn’t he stopped the booze?  Why hadn’t he loved me enough to stay with me?

Copy of just as much (6)

The anger continued like that for a long time.  If I’m honest, it still rises up sometimes.  Sometimes I hear a song that reminds me of Daddy, and I feel myself get really mad at him again for not taking better care of himself, for leaving me when I still needed him.

A lot of times, I can laugh about that, too.  Because, honestly, Daddy wasn’t always easy to deal with, and irritation and sometimes anger were part of our relationship.  I remember a cousin of mine telling me just a few months after Daddy died that he’d had some car trouble (Daddy was the family mechanic), and he’d been on the side of the road and just had to stand there and cuss the “son of a *****” out for not being there. I knew just what he meant.

Have you ever been so angry with someone that you blew your top and screamed at them, said things you later wished you hadn’t?  I know I have.  It’s part of human nature.  But after those moments of anger, do you remember the making up with them?  Purging those feelings sometimes makes room for a strengthening of relationships, if we let it.

Blame and anger are a natural reaction to grief.  They can manifest in different ways for all of us.  And it is even expressed differently in us, depending on the type of loss.  I don’t remember anger when we lost my sister.  And yet I still experience it a year and a half after losing my dad.

Copy of just as much (5)

I also haven’t ever felt anger at God.  But that doesn’t mean that sort of anger would be a bad thing, necessarily.

Recently, my niece started expressing her anger and even “hate” for God after her loss of my dad and, shortly thereafter, the death of a dear friend of hers.  I know those expressions were alarming to a lot of people.  I even think some of our family thought we needed to have an exorcism or something to save her soul!

But while it hurts me to witness the intense grief she’s suffering, I recognize that her anger isn’t abnormal. It’s just part of the painful process of living without people who were a part of us.

Copy of just as much (4)

I’m so blessed to have good friends and counsel in my life.  When I was worried about my niece and asking for prayers, my friend Clint (The Community Chaplain) had these wise words:

“I know many fear when others express anger at God, but at least they are communicating. We should fear when struggling people are indifferent. She is not far from God, even if she has her back turned. It is a critical time to pray that our witness shows God’s love and does not condemn her for expressing her feelings to Him.”

I was reminded of the scene in Forest Gump when Lt. Dan was on top of the shrimp boat during the hurricane.  His intense expression of fury, in the end, was just the release he needed to move on and start living life again.

God truly is a Father to us.  Just the way little children scream at their parents for denying them something they want, sometimes we rant and rave at God. Our Father is full of grace and understanding.  He knows our hearts, and he will patiently wait for our anger to subside so that we can crawl up into his lap and receive healing.  He is ever faithful.  Ever present.   He never forsakes us, even for a moment, even when we’ve turned our backs on him.

But we have to be sure that our anger doesn’t fester and turn to bitterness.  Even when that child was mad at his parents, he still needs them, and we need God the Father, too.  Don’t let the scars of your grief seal up over the anger.  We must work to be open to healing.

Are you angry with God today?  Are you struggling to move on from some intense hurt or pain?  Tell Him.  Tell Him openly and honestly.  Don’t hold any punches because trust me, God can take whatever you can dish out to Him.  So lay yourself bare, then leave your bleeding heart open to receive Him.

I am praying for you right now, for you to receive the healing only Christ can bring.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much for understanding my hurt and my anger.  Thank you for hearing me when I cry out to you in pain and suffering.  Thank you for willingly taking my pain unto yourself and for offering me your arms for healing.  I pray that you will be with all those who are hurting today and that you will shine the light of your love on the darkness of their grief so that they too may experience your soothing grace.

In your name, I pray. Amen

You’re in Christ,

Candace

By oliviahardinwriter

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, their corgi Bonnie Sue, and their new rescue Heidi Ho.

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