I've had a scene from a TV show stuck in my head. In the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother, Lily steps out of a taxi onto the sidewalk to greet her husband, Marshall. Marshall is overjoyed with news he just learned, but Lily has some terrible news. She tells Marshall that his dad had a heart attack, and that he didn't make it.
"My dad's dead?" Marshall asks Lily. She nods, crying, and he wraps her in his arms. The two of them rock back and forth like this for a moment. Then, crying in that way you cry when you don't believe the awful news you just heard, he says:
"I'm not ready for this..."
The camera pans back on the two of them interlocked on the street outside their New York apartment.
I have had this scene stuck in my head for the past few weeks. That line has repeated itself in my mind over and over again…I'm not ready for this. I'm not ready for this.
I wasn't ready when I counted the days and realized I would graduate in a month.
I wasn't ready when the pregnancy test was positive and I realized I had to start thinking about life in a whole new scary way.
I wasn't ready when I started bleeding, went to the ER and was told that I was having a miscarriage.
I wasn't ready for the confusion, the uncertainty about what and how to feel after losing something I had never really known.
I wasn't ready when I realized I hadn't turned in my paperwork for Search and Call…that I hadn't found a job after graduation…that I hadn't prepared for life after graduation.
I wasn't ready when I woke up with the worst abdominal pain I'd ever felt. I wasn't ready when we went again to the hospital and was told I hadn't miscarried, that I had an ectopic pregnancy.
I wasn't ready when they told me they would have to cause a chemical abortion because my pregnancy was, and had never been, viable.
I'm not ready to graduate in 13 days. I'm not ready to find a new job. I'm not ready to face the reality of the recent loss in my life.
But are we ever ready? Are we ever ready for those scary-sudden-life-changing events that jump into our lives unannounced? Are we ever ready for those just-as-scary-life-changing events that have been on our calendar for months, slowly creeping forward until that date arrives?
But we're never alone in our not-ready-ness. Like Marshall, I know that I am not alone. I know that I have Colin to wrap his arms around me. That I have friends who will go shopping with me and take me to lunch and love me. I know that in the times when I am not ready - which, let's face it, is most times these days - that my friends will be there. That they will hold my hand tight so I cannot let go. And they will fill that space between me and acceptance. They will stand there and hold me until I can take the steps forward toward acceptance.
I know these things. I trust in these things. I have faith in these things. They have helped me through this, and continue to do so.
When someone is in pain or struggling, we pray that Jesus holds their hand or hugs them tight. But what has been comforting to me in this time of pain, of struggling, of uncertainty, has been the constant physical embrace of my friends, family, and loved ones. I do believe that Jesus is with me through all these difficult times. And I believe that Jesus is with my friends when they hug me or touch my arm in silent support. But I also know that the physical touch of a person who loves you can be the most comforting thing of all.
I'm not ready for this…for all of this. But when my friends hug me and hold me, I know that someday, hopefully soon, I will be.