Friday, February 27, 2015

Survivors Guilt: Taking and Receiving

I visited my dad today. Except instead of going to the shrimp boat, I actually went to the cemetery. It's weird that I have to go somewhere besides home to see him.
The past seven months haven't been easy to say the least. There's been a lot of bad things happen, some not preventable, others self-inflicted. It's been hard to write, because I just keep hearing the same thing over and over in my head. And I think I can finally get it out. I'm sitting graveside as I type this, because I don't feel like there's anywhere else I could write this.
Two Decembers ago, I was still at that angry and confused stage. We were all piled up in the suburban headed to my grandparents ranch. All four of us kids were just cutting a rug, like normal. We got close to downtown Houston, and I remember looking at the skyline as dad started talking. He had saw a distant friend at the processing plant that day when he was hauling in his shrimp. They were talking about nothing major, and I can't remember how the conversation turned, but Dad said they began to visit about his friend's daughter who had passed on. 21 years before on that day, his 19 year old daughter was in an automobile accident where her car was flipped into a canal and she drowned. Dad started crying at this point, and I did too. I was 19, and I couldn't imagine dying. Dad went on to say how his friend told him how angry he was at God for so long after his daughter passed. He said he was hurt that God could take the most important person, his only daughter, out of his life. And then he said one day he met this preacher who changed his life. The preacher knew he was angry and listened to his logic and backstory on why he was made at God, then he said, "God didn't take your daughter away, he received your daughter." I lost it and so did everyone else in the car. I just sobbed as I watched my dad try to gain enough composure to continue. He looked at me and said, "Brina, I just thought all day of you and how angry you are that God took your friends away, but baby girl, God didn't take them away. he received them. I don't want you to be angry anymore." As I continued to cry, I told Dad how much I loved him and watched as momma wiped dads tears away. Comforting him as she always did. I hear my dad telling me that every day. I hear his voice in my mind, reminding me not to become angry. I can't even be sad for him, because I know Jesus was standing there waiting to receive him. I'm not mad at God. But I'll be the first to say that I'm mad at myself. I have struggled with survivors guilt since day 1. A day doesn't go by that I don't see the accident, hear his voice telling us to come to the door, and then losing sight of him. I think back to how hard I tried to get everyone out of the boat. I have come to the reality that I did everything that I could. It's hard to live each day with the happy heart I had before when I feel this little nudge of, "you should have died too. You weren't suppose to make it." It's hard to listen to that voice and smile at your friends jokes. It's hard to go to class and listen to oh-so-boring geology lecture and think, "I'm not suppose to be in this class anyways. I should be in the cemetery next to my dad." But I've fought that dark, little voice of Satan. Because with every single part of my heart, I know I am alive for a reason. I've yet to figure out the why, and quite honestly I'm done trying to. I am going to live everyday with the assurance that God received my dad and that it just wasn't my time yet. Something's weren't meant to be understood. And that boat accident was one of them. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

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