Grief Induced Chutzpah

There is a common saying that  goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Instead of biting my tongue when I don’t have something nice to say, I prefer the approach of saying it in a foreign language. This might stem from growing up with a Spanish professor for a mother or the fact that trauma has completely removed what little filter I had before. I’ve always had a love of languages and sometimes you have to borrow from others to convey what you really want to say without sounding too crass. Life is bleeping hard enough without having to worry about holding back the thoughts we want to express and I have unwillingly learned that widowhood takes some serious cajones.

Sometimes things just sound a little less harsh or cringey in another language. Even Margot implemented this concept at two years old. My toddler knew that potty talk was for the bathroom only, but not long after she started daycare she came home and started inserting “caca” into every other sentence. If I told her to finish her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she would say, “you mean my peanut butter and caca sandwich,” and then laugh as if she wouldn’t get in trouble because she said it in Spanish. I’ll admit, this phase was mildly amusing and didn’t irritate me nearly as much as when her little sister was the same age and couldn’t make it through a meal without some kind of potty joke in English.

I have spent the last two years since losing Taylor swimming upstream. There’s not another adult at the dinner table with me to reprimand or secretly smirk at the inappropriate discussions. Grief has taken so much from me, but there is one thing I’m thankful that it has given me and that is chutzpah. Not everyone would agree that this is a positive attribute. In fact, the definition of this Yiddish word is “unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity.” Widowhood has made me brazen in ways I never was in my first 32 years of life. I was thrown into the deep end without any warning and it is chutzpah that has kept me afloat. 

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Driving home from my last visit to Fort Worth, I was listening to an audible that referenced the observations of Rabbi Harold Kushner who wrote, among other things, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Suffering is universal and it often leaves us questioning, “Why?“. Kushner pointed out that in the Hebrew language the word “why” has a dual meaning, each with its own word. Maduah means “from what cause?” and lama translates “to what end?”.

I’ve done my fair share of questioning over the last two years…

My husband died.

Q: Maduah?

A: Equipment Failure. Freak accidents happen.

My husband died.

Q: Lama?

A: I accept that this is something only God can answer.

There have been all kids of “lamas” that have run through my head. I often come back to the knowing feeling that Taylor and I were always meant to be together in this lifetime for however short and called in his death to minister “together” for the Glory of God’s everlasting kingdom. Whatever the reason may be, my hope rests solely in the Lord. Whatever lamas you are facing in your own life, give them up to God. When we put our faith in God, he constantly renews our strength and blesses us with chutzpah to walk hand in hand with our suffering. He will not let us grow weary no matter what battles we face as long as we invite the Lord to stand on our side.

Love, Molly

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