Thursday, January 27, 2011

A void inside a void....nothingness

Have you ever had an "empty feeling" moment in your life?  I recently heard that phrase used during a TV news anchor's interview with a relative of one of the Arizona shooting victims.  It made me pause and think about the empty feeling moments that I have had in my life.  I'm sure you know those moments....they go hand in hand with "heartache" moments and "gut-wrenching" moments.  When these moments happen in my life, I feel an overwhelming emptiness that starts behind my left ribcage and radiates all the way into the pit of my stomach.  It feels like something has been ripped out of your heart and left a void about the size of a football field.  I sometimes think I have had more than my share of those moments because I have battled depression most of my adult life...but that's another story for another day.

They are a sense of darkness, these moments fact, they occur because of the loss of something in your life that you hold dear.  The very first memory I have of such a feeling, I was only seven years old and sitting on the steps at the side entrance of my elementary school.  During recess, we all noticed that there was a huge cloud of smoke outlined in a red glow north of the school about two or three miles away.  Even as a first grader, I knew the direction of my house and a little sick feeling started creeping over me.  Forty- five minutes later, when a neighbor showed up to pick me and my sister up from school, the feeling deepened.  As we drove by where my house had just been that morning, a pile of rubble and one lone rocking chair with the charred remains of a doll sitting near the road was all that was left of my once happy home.  That empty feeling stayed with me awhile.

The next one that I remember was sitting in French class my sophmore year in high school and hearing the principal announce the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  A deep loss was felt by our entire nation that day - the whole country grieved for the loss of the man and the loss of an innocence that our great country has yet to find again.... that void has never been filled.

As we get older, our lists grow longer.  I could expound on each of the following, but it would be a book versus a blog......
  • the loss of my Mom and Dad, my two brothers and my sister - each left an irreplaceable hole in my heart.
  • a brief separation in our marriage
  • weak moments in my faith
  • the Space Shuttle "Challenger" disaster resulting in the death of  Christa McAuliffe and the other astronauts aboard
  • the terrorist attacks of 9/11
  • a mammogram scare
  • the critical illness and near death of my best friend Marlene
  • and especially the abuse or death of any child
Loss is a natural part of life, but it's never easy.  Some of these are my own personal losses and some are the empathy I feel for others on their losses.  As difficult as these moments are, I am grateful that I feel the pain of others.  Without God in my life I'm convinced that I would not feel their emptiness.   Slowly over time, God helps fill these voids with things like the birth of grandchildren, the love of friends, but especially the healing power of His hands.  Without faith, how would we get through these moments in our lives?  Pretty soon we would just waste away.....a void inside a nothingness.

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