It was 2 o’clock in the morning and in one sudden unexpected moment my world changed.
If you watched the episode of This Is Us that aired after the Super Bowl, you might have heard the character Randall describe an unexpected life-altering event as a lightning strike. The writers’ raw and beautiful analogy articulates this experience well. Here is what Randall said:
“When you lose someone suddenly, and unexpectedly, it hurts differently… Boom, boom, like a lightning strike. That’s what unexpected loss is like. It’s like a lightning bolt you can’t even see reaching inside of you and tearing out your guts.”
Eight years ago, the lightning bolt that struck me was the death of my baby girl, and then another bolt struck shortly after when my father died. I’ve spent 8 years processing and healing from that lightning storm.
But this time the 2AM lightning strike was not the unexpected discovery of someone’s death even though it could in every way be categorized as a type of loss and grief.
Like with any lightning strike that appears out of nowhere and dramatically alters our lives, it felt as though the bolt made direct contact with my heart when it struck; that it had destroyed my heart in an explosion of pain.
Ironically, like with the first strikes, this lightning bolt ushering in a new season of suffering came immediately after a season of giving thanks. Also ironically perhaps, right before this latest strike occurred, I had just written and shared about the revelation that I sort of have PTSD when it comes to giving thanks as a result of these losses that had immediately followed eight years ago (you can read more in this post here).
This was the first year after eight years that I was able to confront my PTSD head on and return to my gratitude journal and count my gifts. And then, just like eight years ago, a lightning strike, and my world fell apart again immediately after. I couldn’t believe it.
And then came the inevitable question spoken through the agonizing heartache and flow of hot tears, Why God?
What I discovered, or rather what God revealed, in the days following this most recent lightning strike of unexpected pain was that when life thrust me into this pit of darkness, He was going to rip off a blindfold, and I would see Him begin to use this shocking pain for good quite immediately.