Wednesday, January 19, 2011

project 365 - day 19

thankful for...hmmm...american idol??
ok, ok. i know what you're thinking! seriously, american idol? season 10 premiered tonight and i'll be honest, i was super excited and thankful! but give me a chance to explain...

see, i had never watched this show until 2 years ago. we lost our sweet matthew on sunday, jan 11th and i could not function. there was nothing to make me smile, or laugh, or feel anything but sad. i was in shock and in ultra-grief mode. crying every hour, on the hour, sometimes 30 times in the hour. i was having a pretty unbelievably difficult time. we were in the midst of deciding where to bury matthew, planning a funeral, and working with the navy on the logistics of transporting his body back to the states. decisions a parent should not have to think about, let alone actually make. people were coming to the house bringing food and i didn't want to talk to anyone. i just wanted to lay in bed all day long and eventually stop feeling anything at all.

three days later on the 14th the armed forces network debuted season 8 of american idol for us in greece (one day after the states). i got out of bed that day mid-afternoon, barely fed myself, cried until my eyes were as puffy as cotton candy, and walked the 25 steps to the couch. i slumped down on the sofa and turned on the tv for the first time since the day matthew was born. see, on january 6, matthew's birthday, i didn't feel well so i called in sick and laid around watching tv thinking i was having braxton hicks contractions. 8 days later i didn't want to lay on the same couch and watch the same tv where i thought i should have called the doctor sooner and things would be different.

i flipped channels and came to american idol. i decided to watch for a little while because so many people had talked about it for years. that night something happened. the outlandish contestants who couldn't sing a note and sung anyway for their 15 minutes of fame had me smiling. then the smiles turned to chuckles and the chuckles turned to full-on deep belly laughs complete with happy tears rolling down my face. i laughed so hard i couldn't breathe. i mean contestants like tatiana, with all of her drama and antics had me saying, is this for real??? and through a tv show, i started to realize something. i realized, eventually, i would laugh again. and 2-3 times per week until may, i practiced laughing while watching this show. for 2 hours i was able to escape my unspeakable pain and sadness and immerse myself into a silly tv show. for 2 hours a few times a week, i felt a little bit normal. sometimes i even cried because i was so moved by the contestants' singing or their stories. but it was a good cry, nothing simliar to what the rest of the day's cries' looked like for me.

in the midst of unbearable grief, God gives us unexpected hope and joy. yes, sometimes i turned to my bible and read of His promises to restore us and to bring peace that surpasses understanding. i read of His promise of heaven and was comforted that my son was there. but i had really hard moments with God during this time where i felt like He had abandoned me. i was so angry at Him and at times, i could not bring myself to even open my bible.

but wednesday and thursday nights would roll around and the laughter would come courtesy of american idol. and i think it was some of the best medicine i could have experienced. am i saying american idol was better than the truths of my bible or my prayer time with God? absolutely not! but, for me, my anger was so intense during that time that i wasn't always open to the truths of God's word to comfort me. do i think God gave me american idol to remind me i would laugh again? well, actually, yes i do. i believe God meets us where we are. even if that's using a tv show to restore laughter, hope and joy.  

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

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