Ben: Seth Rogen plays Kyle, a vulgar, imperfect, loyal friend in 50/50. Joseph Gorden-Levitt (Adam) is his pal with life threatening cancer. The night before the defining surgery Adam takes Kyle's SUV and freaks. He doesn't know how to drive and uses the emergency brake to lock his wheels. As the car yanks to a stop Adam unleashes an anguished scream/groan as the weight of his life smashes through to reality. It's the closest thing I've heard to one I let out after Ann's affair was revealed.
She told me on a Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, with her sitting by my side, I called my pastor at my home church to let him know I wouldn't be home on Sunday to preach my licensing service due to the affair. As I placed the corded receiver down sounds from my depths erupted. Gutteral sobs bellowed forth tasting like acidic raw sorrow. To her credit and courage, Ann sat by my side.
After several minutes the words, "I was finally going to be something good" came out. At first blush they don't sound so bad. They sound like a guy looking for redemption which was true. But really they are off because they are all in my power. There isn't any dependence on God in them. Being good had become an idol to me. So my grieving was a mix of authentic, honest, pain and groans and there was also the beginning of the slaying of an idol to be good. It was subtle, but I wanted to be good more than I wanted to know God. I was broken in pain caused by Ann and broken by my own sin (though not right away and the journey certainly continues today).
My soul was expanding in my grief.
I also learned about grieving daily. There was the betrayal of the affair to deal with each time the sun came up. Yet even without that I learned that there is grief to be had each day on this fallen planet. Life isn't right here. This was a freeing thought for me. I realized I wasn't crazy because I wasn't happy and peppy all the time. There is loss and pain to deal with each day on this planet. There is a place to allow myself to feel that and it's not wrong. It's not a question of whether it is there. It is. The question is do I choose to deal with it or numb it?
We were designed for heaven. Reality is much less than that. There is a huge gap between that design and reality. I had been creative in ways to fill it. Alcohol, golf, trying to be cool, trying to be quiet, trying to be good, serving at church, reading the bible, working extra hours on weekends and on and on the list can go of ways I tried to jam pack that gap.
But God has it rigged. We can really only fill it with grief. That's it. Acknowledging that this isn't our real home and experiencing it is one way to define grief. The amazing thing is that in our grief in that gap God meets us and pours his grace. Grief and grace bridge the difference in the design of our world and the reality we live in.
In grieving I eventually was able to enjoy the beauty that Ann brings into my life. Grief purified and expanded my soul to relax and enjoy who she was becoming and all the ways she was already blessing my life.
Grief is like Kyle. It's a vulgar, imperfect, loyal friend. It's a loyal friend that penetrates our depths leading us to gutteral screams and sobs and groans. God eventually rmeets us at the deep intersection of truth and life filling us with his grace. Eventually sometimes seems like it will never get here.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. ~Romans 8:26-27