I held the soaked pages in my hands and cried. Angry crying. Scared crying. I knew. I knew that I couldn’t get it back.
There are some things you can’t get back.
I was tired last night. It was day four of my husband’s business trip to Spain and it was starting to feel like it. I could have fallen asleep at nine when I put the last two children in bed but I decided to eek out one more project before crashing. Now it was ten and I was more than ready to crawl into my bed. I ran through the morning list that was repeating in my memory bank… update Journey’s journal.
In hind site it might have been mercy that begged me to head back down the hall and fish out her journal from the bottom of my to-go bag. Had I not purposed to update it last night there’s a good chance a couple more weeks would have passed. It didn’t feel like mercy though. As I reached down and felt soggy paper hit my finger tips I was instantly annoyed. Really!
It was a rolodex of frustration. Why didn’t I think to check this when I realized the brand new over-priced detangler had leaked in the bottom of the diaper bag? Why didn’t I remember that this is exactly what happened to the last bottle of detangler I kept in the diaper bag? Why couldn’t God have just NOT let the detangler spill in the diaper bag? Somehow this is Kevin’s fault for not letting me cut Journey’s scraggly hair and now I need to keep detangler in the diaper bag! (Not even kidding. Exact thoughts!)
But angry almost always is protecting something far more vulnerable and by the time I actually made it back to my room I started crying. That journal had a list of her first feeds, her first diaper changes, her footprints. It was full of the first nine blurry months of her life and now they all just looked like a mass of pink-purple scrawls. I couldn’t get them back. The words… the memories. If they were lost, they were just… lost.
I decided to see if they could be salvaged with a blow dryer. There was some improvement. Some of the sentences became legible. But some… not so much. Ironically, thirty minutes before all of this, I was going off on my oldest two for not managing to make it through the bedtime routine without distributing half a tube of sparkly blue toothpaste all over the sink. I mean seriously how do you expect me to trust you with a pocket knife if I can’t trust you with a tube of toothpaste!
It was a well crafted argument. And had I been in it for the sake of their hearts it would have been well done. But I wasn’t. I came back and repented because what I mostly cared about with the icky gooey globs in the sink and the fact that in like one week I was going to have to remember to go buy them new toothpaste again. I didn’t want to buy new toothpaste again. But you can always buy more toothpaste.
Toothpaste is not sacred.
So… I’ve been reading a lot about hell (not likely the expected transition). It’s by far the hardest of the Christian doctrines. Largely avoided by most and dumbed-down by the rest. I’ve never much seen the point of preaching hell-fire and brimstone because I never saw it produce a love-based relationship with Jesus. And I know no other salvation than the love of the Father acting in my life, through the power of His Holy Spirit, by virtue of His son. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe there is hell. And I’ve had some questions for God on the matter.
As I’ve studied out those questions I heard a message by one of the great theological minds of our day. In it he stated “Hell is not the will of God. It is the will of man who rejects God. It is the deepest void of separation and the saddest of all things… I do not trust any man who preaches on hell without breaking down half-way through and weeping.”
The journal is mostly fine. My daughter is growing and treasured whether I have all the stickers from the doctors office to prove it or not. There are way more pages to fill then were ruined. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It was just a medium to help me see.
Some things are sacred. And if they are lost they cannot be unlost.
Father, on this sobering reality I fall tonight. I have no idea how to even begin to steward this word in a way that is pleasing to you. So I trust… I trust that you will help me. I trust that you will lead me. I say yes. I say yes to you and your ways. I pray dear God, that you would show us that you are the Most Sacred. That all the other sacred things we see and experience in this life are just shadows of Your holiness. And would you help us to regard our own soul with the same esteem as you placed on it at Calvary. Determining that You should love us in spite of us. That you should be glorified in FINDING what was LOST! I don’t even truly know how to pray this. Not really. So I simply say Amen. Have Your way.