“Do you think that you are trying to fill a void?”

May 21, 2010

“Do you think that you are trying to fill a void?”

My first instinct was to laugh and then explode in a rant about how that void can never be filled. I have thought considerably about that question since she asked… since that hour that I spend over lunch with a girl I didn’t know. I knew fairly early that I would not pursue her after that quasi-lunch date. But, if I am honest with myself, it is a fair question for anyone to ask me. No amount of words, written or spoken could ever accommodate the emotion and thought that I have given to this. This concern of hers was a legitimate inquiry. In fact, I am glad that someone would ask. It shows substance and thought and sincerity. Pain has taught me that the grumbling holes in our souls are not meant to be filled by anything other than the Fullness of our Father, the Leading of His Spirit and the Love of the Son. Still, we try… we are human. We were made for companionship, not necessarily to complete one another.

But that doesn’t answer her question. Am I looking for a replacement? I recognize the fault in trying to replace. It can never be. It would not be fair to me or anyone else to even try… and I told her this. How can anyone replace her? I am not looking for that. Is it really that unbelievable that I feel like I am ready to search for another companion for the rest of my days? The amount of pain and subsequent healing I have been through is greater than most people in this world will ever have to endure. I did not “move on”. I have not been “restored”. Grief never really affords that. You just learn to live with it. You either hide it or wrestle and I know that nothing remains hidden, so I fight every day. The questions of a 3 year old child don’t allow me to hide, even if I wanted to.

Have I still not answered this? Very soon after Carla died, I met with a man that had lost his wife and had been remarried 2 years after his wife died. I remember being disgusted and confused—how could he do this to his wife (who died)? I am sorry for my ignorance. I was so blinded by pain that I could not understand. I was so angry with God for doing this to me. Its funny now when I think about those moments that I yelled at the God whose voice scattered the stars, the God whose will, and arguably patience, somehow keeps this rock spinning around a ball of fire… this rock that is coincidently the perfect distance from that ball of fire, keeping us from freezing solid or melting and blowing away as ash. The truth is that I am now envious of Carla. She does not have to navigate the waters that I swim in daily. She has become perfect and lives, wrapped in light and love, fully understanding herself and her creator. Reasonable jealousy! If somehow she could wish something for me and Linen, I know that she would want what I want. Linen told me today, “Mama lays down on my pillow and reads books to me.” I asked, “Which pillow… your pink pillow?” “No”, she affirmed, “Her pillow.” I would want Carla to find someone better than me, better at living for today, better at intuiting her needs and catering to her dreams. I wouldn’t want her to “fill a void”. I would want her to just enjoy the rest of her days, smile more than she ever has, laugh uncontrollably, be held and treasured, supported and loved. I would want someone to raise Linen as a Godly man and show her what real love and worth is, to equip her to make the right decisions, to not listen to the world and its flawed marketing, to guard her against the pressures from careless boys and catty girls.

I’m trying to answer this! “No” just doesn’t seem to capture what I really want to say. After sincere consideration, I know this is a fair question for anyone to ask me and for me to ask myself. But, even if I tried to fill a void or replace, it cannot happen. She is gone and I am a changed man. We are both better than we ever have been, but Carla accomplished all that she had to do. She has been perfected and I have much more growing and learning and walking to do. If I were to meet a man tomorrow who wore the fresh pain of grief, who looked like the wind could carry him away, who asked me how I could be where I am today… how would I answer him? The truth is that there is no way that I could convince him in his current state of pain. And maybe that’s the case for someone who has never lost love. You cannot know what it feels like to “know” and I really don’t need to convince anyone of anything. I know the answer. I live it.

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