I Love You and I Am With You

Author: Kate Schaber | www.kateschaberwrites.com | @kateschaber

I walked the hillside at Camp Crestview one evening as the sun was setting. Gold and lavender and pink filled the sky overlooking the Colombia River Gorge.

Breathtaking. Beautiful. Serene.

But my mind was a mess. My heart, tortured with anxiety and fear over my grief.

I was missing my little brother.

It was several years after his death and I was, frankly, pissed off that it all had happened. I stood on that hill and asked God to promise me that nothing like that would ever happen again.

I don’t believe that God wanted or caused Jesse to die, but in that moment all I wanted was a guarantee.

Don’t ever do this to me again.

Instead of that promise of safety, I felt the clearest words in response:

I love you and I am with you.

Ok great, thanks.

I gritted my teeth, annoyed at the vague and simple nature of the statement.

The phrase stuck with me, continuing to bug me through the following years, through hard questions, wrestling with religion and grief.

Then I held my baby for the first time. That first long night, he cried and cried, and I felt overcome with the thought that I couldn’t protect him from pain in his life. I was sick that life was bound to hurt him in some way and at some point.

I actually thought “what have I done?”, for a split second feeling a strange guilt that I brought such a beautiful and perfect being into the world only to know I, in all my finite-ness, would never be able to fully keep him from harm.

Then I thought of all the love and joy and bliss he could feel in his life. Things like the strength that he could know from overcoming what seemed impossible; the softness and empathy that only sorrow can bring to a human heart.

I knew I couldn’t control all of my child’s experiences, as most wouldn’t want to, and truly no one can. That is an utterly terrifying feeling. But I knew I could be there. I could give him my love and my endless support, everything I had.

I realized I was so afraid of Great Grief, only because of the enormity of Great Love.

Then, and now still, I determined to throw myself fully into the Great Love. I decided to risk the terrifying possibility of grief for the prize of that love, believing for the first time that it was worth it. Undeniably, and with no second thought, worth it.

So I held him and swayed and kissed his tiny face, and whispered in his ears the only words that could convey everything I wanted his worried heart to know:

I love you and I am with you.

There is still so much I don’t understand, there are still guarantees I wish God would give.

But I think I finally understand what He was trying to say.

Whitney Parnell3 Comments