Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Doubt

I have discovered a secret chamber of my heart.  Most of my heart is reserved for beautiful ideas, for love, for joy, for optimism, for God.  But this tiny hidden portion is set aside for doubt.  I keep it there for protection, as a hedge against uncertainty.  When Jonah died my heart was shattered, so vulnerable, so hurt.  I fear the intensity of those feelings.  So I let doubt in.  Part of me believes if the rest of my hopeful heart is poisoned by disappointment this small doubtful portion will be saved.  It will be right if all goes wrong.  I often hear doubt whisper "you believe that you will have more children, but I know you might not", "you believe that you will find joy again, but I know that is impossible", "you believe the rainbow was a sign, but I know it was only sunlight and rain", "you believe in God, but I know he is only a figment."   Lately I have been clinging to my safety doubt to stop myself from expecting too much from life.   

This week I feel my heart changing.  I was blessed with an epiphany, a moment of clarity.  In a fog, I watched my niece and nephew scamper around their house, running and laughing, and occasionally bursting into tears.  I watched them and my heart ached for Jonah.  I imagined him in their midst, full of life and joy.  He was the epitome of joy.  I pictured my former self and wondered how I could have prepared for the devastation of losing him. 

If I had known Jonah would die, and if I had doubted my potential for happiness, it would not have changed my heartache.  I don't think it would be any easier.  My heart would still be broken.  The only thing that would have changed was my journey.  My 14 months of happiness and joy would have been smothered with fear, anxiety and hesitation.  I would have been a shadow of myself.  I loved Jonah with my whole heart, I didn't make room for doubt or fear.  A sprinkling of skepticism would not have lessened the pain I feel today.  My pain is intense because I loved absolutely.  

My epiphany is echoed in the inspired words of Lance Wickman, who also lost his son.    

Please know that grief is the natural by-product of love. One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at his suffering or eventual death. The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning.


As I look toward the future I realize that the difficulties of life will happen.  My small, or large, reserve of doubt will not save me from disappointment, but it may handicap my ability to love.  It may stop me from feeling God's love for me.  It may blind my spiritual eyes.  It may keep me from playing with my beautiful niece and nephew.  It may halt my dreams and ambitions.  It may dull and deaden my heart. 

Belief is the only antidote for doubt.  I want to  renovate this small chamber in my heart.  Little by little I plan to excavate the doubt from my heart, and replace it with belief.   I will remind myself that doubt is a hinderance, not a protection.  I will prepare myself for future, for the potential depths of grief, with the knowledge that I have loved completely, without reservation, and with no more room for doubt.  

Mark 9: 23-24
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

9 comments:

  1. That doubt rests right at the bottom of my heart. Thank you for reminding me of it's purpose and what I should do with it. I love you.

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  2. You put into words the feelings of my heart today. Thank you, friend.

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  3. Some days I'm sad, some days I'm mad, but always the doubt wants to take over. It is work to keep it under control and some days I am better at it than others. I love that scripture because the father doesn't just say he believes, he asks the savior for help pushing the last bits of doubt out of his heart. I am so grateful we don't have to do this alone.

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  4. Every time I read your blog it makes me want to be a better Mom, a better Wife a better person. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings.

    I always cry after reading your beautiful words, you are so inspiring. I want to be like you when I grow up.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Jera Foster

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  5. We do not doubt our mothers knew it... Never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all.

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    1. This is so sweet and so perfect Leah.

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  6. I have moments of doubt that creep in on me every once in a while. We lost our son when he was ten days old. We never had the chance to hold him once he was born but we had another son 12 months later and tried to make it all up with him. Our first son died 48 years ago and I still mourn him but now his father has passed away and I have been taught that they are together now. But over these many years, I have loved very deeply. I have had three children besides the one we lost and I have 20 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I marvel at how much love my heart can hold for so many. It does get better with time.

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    1. Thank you for sharing such tenderness and hope with me.

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  7. Julie, I just got back from a meeting where your dad spoke, and it reminded me how much I love your blog, so I thought I'd catch up. It's been a while since I was here. I gain so much from your insight and from your simple eloquence. You have a way of putting feelings into words, of sharing self-discoveries, that just speaks to me and I so appreciate you sharing. Thank you! You give me courage to be better - ditch the doubt, love without reservation, and reach out without fear of rejection. Thanks so much.

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