We stood on our front porch covered in blood, holding our little boy’s lifeless body.
It was in those moment that it all changed. Nothing that had been was the same. In seconds we changed. Our world went wrong that day and we became strangers.
I looked in his teary blue eyes that spoke volumes of brokenness and no longer recognized the man I had gone to bed with and woken up to every morning the past 10 years.
It wasn’t just him that changed. I stared in the mirror and didn’t know the woman in the reflection. All I saw in her eyes was deep loss. She had been cut open and a piece of her was gone, yet she had no visible scars. But if you looked deep enough into those eyes you could see the depth of the pain she carried.
Not only did we no long know each other, but we were strangers to ourselves.
Grieving a child. Traumatically grieving a child – it changes people. Often it rips marriages apart. The devil comes to rob, steal, and kill. I was determined to not give him the power to destroy my marriage.
There have been some rough days, weeks, months – heck, YEARS.
It was as if we were living in an arranged marriage. Getting to know a stranger at your best is not always easy – let alone while you are searching for yourself while struggling to just breathe. We were strangers with expectations of one another. We weren’t two people getting dressed-up to impress the other while on a luring date. We were two brokenhearted strangers standing still in a spinning world.
It is work. Really hard WORK.
We were so empty and weak – working was not in us. But you see, God was in us and when we allowed Him – He did the work.
It was grace.
We were at our worst and in the pits of self-pitty. We tried to put the other before ourselves. We didn’t. But we did however, put God before ourselves and even each other.
And lots of mercy.
There were days I wanted to run away. There were days I did. There were days I wished he would run away. Far away. He didn’t. He was a weeping mess and I was boiling with anger. I needed him to be strong so I could yell and scream and get it all out, but he was so vulnerable I was afraid I would push him over the edge. He needed me and I didn’t want to be needed. He forced me to be strong when all I wanted was to be weak. He was selfish and inconsiderate and I was bitter and rejected him. We were a mess. No, we were a disaster. This was our grieving life. Strangers living under the same roof, but on opposite ends of the room. We wounded each other without a doubt. But as much as we messed up we forgave. Mercy. We had mercy on each other.
We’ve reaped the reward of true hard work. We worked hard at letting go of our expectations, allowing God to be the center of our marriage, and forgiving each other even when we didn’t deserve it. Agape love. The unconditional love of Christ.
That is how strangers become friends. Best friends. Life-long friends.
He is my best friend and I am his.