On Time & Resurrection


This year was such a rollercoaster. Really high highs, and very low lows. Several plot twists—a few we were prepared for, a few we weren’t. I’m disoriented, grateful, sad, hopeful, tired, restless.

When I started this year, I was really struggling at work. I had just been tossed into a new role, and was trying to find my way without much guidance or support. Somewhere in the middle of the year I felt like I found a rhythm, albeit a high-tempo, can’t stop no matter how tired or unsure you are, rhythm. It was a huge challenge that helped me grow in my professional life.

And then, plot twist, I got laid off.

We made big financial goals this year and succeeded at several of them – we PAID OFF a student loan, and we saved up for a REAL EUROPEAN VACATION that we always wanted to take and never thought we’d be able to. We faced a major medical emergency (Matt’s seizure in March) and we were able to take it in stride, financially speaking.

Oh yeah—MATT HAD A SEIZURE for the first time in nearly 20 years, and for a few heart-wrenching seconds I thought he was going to die, but he didn’t, and we slowly found a new normal. My goofy, kind, handsome, loving husband is still with me. To say I’m grateful would be the understatement of a lifetime. For nearly six months between March and September our schedule was a monster because he wasn’t allowed to drive, which meant that I drove us everywhere—physical therapy and doctors appointments, work, errands—but I can honestly say that all of the time stuck in a car in rush hour traffic strengthened our bond. The fact that we survived such an unexpected obstacle made our Europe trip all the sweeter when we finally got to go.

My favorite moment of this whole year was sitting in a tiny, closet-sized bar in Hamburg, Germany, while my husband talked to the locals about how his father’s family emigrated to America from Hamburg in the ’50s. We got tipsy and walked backed to our hotel room full of joy, high on life.

And then we tried to unsuccessfully to get pregnant this fall. I know most people don’t talk openly about this stuff and I normally don’t either, but I need to today. Because not talking about it has somehow made the gaping hole in my heart feel even bigger than it is. I finally felt ready for the adventure of parenthood, after years of processing my mother’s death and learning how to take care of myself and be an adult. I dared to name what I wanted out loud, dared to hope that it was finally time. And then everything fell apart. There was this week, around the end of October and beginning of November, where I thought I was pregnant. And then I took a test, and realized I wasn’t. My body was just faking me out, I guess. And then a couple weeks later, I lost my job.

The end of this year felt like a cruel joke.

And it has felt like a return to a truth that I wrestle with: time is a circle. Life is a series of seasons, some harder than others. Nature, even time itself, is a rollercoaster. The bad and the good both come around, again and again.

I started this decade camped out on my mother’s deathbed. In the intervening years, other parts of myself died. Some were reborn. I grew and I changed and I learned how to hope again. 

A resurrection that fundamentally shifted my understanding of resurrection itself.

I always thought of it as a return to a previous state: the dead thing becomes undead.

But that’s not exactly it, is it?

Something dies, decomposes, and eventually something new may emerge. 

It’s not the same flower coming back over and over again.

It’s the same plant, but a new bud every time.

A descendant of what was, a fruit born from seasons and soil.

Familiar but different.

An ordinary miracle, if such a thing exists.

It’s a painful process, and I feel like I’m going through it again—a death of a plan. A hard winter that I know how to weather, because I’m from Michigan, but right now I resent it. I don’t want to be good at this part. I don’t want to slow down. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to start over.

But if I’m being truthful, and today I am, I don’t want to be the person I used to be, either. I don’t want to return to who I was a decade ago. The process hurts, but it’s vital part of growing as a person. There are no shortcuts.

And so I’m in the midst of an excruciating season, but I know that another one is on its way.

Someday, a resurrection.

Maybe the same hope, but a new plan.

  • http://www.cross-platform.org John Hanan

    This is perfect and beautiful. And I’ve never even seen the movie.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Thanks, John. The movie is definitely geared toward women, but it’s also incredibly wise and the acting is superb. And there are so many one-liners in it, which gave my husband reason to enjoy it. :)

  • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com/ Matt Appling

    Bethany, a very thoughtful post. I think it’s easier for well-intentioned people to say that suffering is a part of God’s plan when they haven’t experienced it so acutely. I look at the world and I see a tidal wave of stuff that was never part of God’s plan. Cancer is not a part of God’s plan, as with all of the other pains people feel. Genesis is God’s plan. But in the end, God will make things right. That’s what gets me through pain and loss, at least.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Thanks, Matt. I think you’re right that we don’t often know how hurtful our “words of comfort” can be until we need some ourself. It’s easy to see everything as God’s plan if it looks exactly like our own plans, but it’s when the plan gets ruined that we really begin to pay attention to what He actually means when He talks about His plans for us. Thanks again for reading, and for your words of encouragement. I appreciate it.

  • emmillerwrites

    Oh, the nasty comments! I deal with them all the time at the newspaper, and they don’t phase me much when they are in response to my articles. But on posts in which I’ve shared my heart and experiences? Yeah, that stings a little more.

    I’m very thankful you share your heart the way you do, even if a commenter might come along and hurt it, because I learn so much from you, especially how to better grieve with those who are grieving.

    How is the proposal coming?

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Eh, comments shmomments, right? I know better than to take it personally, but it was a reminder that there are people in the world that really do think its okay to say things like that to the grieving. Thanks so much for your always-encouraging words, friend.

      The proposal is coming along! Got a good chunk done this weekend, despite my Steel Magnolias weep fest on the couch. Haha. Hopefully I’ll have it done by the end of the month. How’s YOURS coming? ;)

      • emmillerwrites

        It’s done! My goal was to finish it before Renew and Refine so I could get some feedback. So far it’s been surprisingly positive. Want me to email it to you?

  • writetobeyou

    “We don’t survive by walking away from grief, but by walking straight through it, crying when we have to, laughing when we can, speaking honestly about how we feel, listening to each other’s sorrow” This quote encapsulates so much, Bethany. Your words always raise me up. You are teaching your readers what vulnerability truly looks like, and it’s a very painful and beautiful lesson… thank you

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Thanks so much, Rory. I always appreciate your comments and support. Much love!

  • http://hopefullyknown.com/ Tamara Rice

    This is so beautiful, Bethany. You are so, so right. Sometimes you just have to admit that it hurts and “heavenly reunions” seem a little too far off to be comforting. Thanks for sharing your process of grief here and giving others a safe place to express their own grief too. (And boo hiss to the nasty commenter.)

    • http://hopefullyknown.com/ Tamara Rice

      Oh, dear Lord, I just read your wonderful article and those comments. I don’t even know what to do with myself. You spoke well. Wise not to re-engage the crazy. You’ve inspired me to finish my post I started a few weeks ago … titled “This One Time I Defended Angelina Jolie.” :) I, too, have encountered the crazy.

      • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

        “Don’t re-engage the crazy.” May have to plaster that one to the wall above my desk. Such a good reminder, and not just for comment sections.

        Thank you SO much for your encouragement and support, Tamara. And yes – please finish your post about Jolie! I need more people to discuss this with… it’s not a topic my peers (millennials, that is) are eager to discuss, and it’s something I would have discussed endlessly with my mother, but alas… Anyway, I’m just eager to hear your thoughts. :)

  • http://clairikine.blogspot.com/ Claire Webster

    YES. This. Thanks for putting words on this. (Also, notwithstanding the amount of time I spend on Tumblr – where “I can’t” is use for everything – I love the eloquence of that phrase.)

  • Rachel

    Hi Bethany!
    After reading your very sincere post, I can’t help but want to leave you a comment! Your words deeply touched my heart. I sympathize with the heavy weight of your pain over people saying well-meaning things about faith-healing, and actually hurting you even more. After years of having a severe chronic illness, I have also heard many of the same things. I empathize with your grief, and am so very thankful to hear you have continued to reach out to God and to others throughout this. I cannot imagine anyone feeling there is a lack of faith in your heart, because I can already see it so radiantly after just one post of yours. You are brave and strong to continue seeking God despite your sorrows, and I am certain He recognizes that faith as beautiful and plentiful. As He said, faith as small as a mustard seed can bring forth miracles. I cannot imagine the ways you must have struggled with this loss, but I pray that you will continue to heal and hold your mother’s memory dearly. Your loss matters, your pain is significant, and so is your story. Please, keep telling it!

    Thank you for sharing your words! You are brave, genuine, and wise. I’m certain you touch many hearts.

    Peace to you,