The sun shown brightly on a light glazing of snow that gave hope for a white Christmas. My brother popped by, early morning elf delivering family gifts, and as we visited asked, “Have you read your email?” While I searched the cousins’ thread of news, he quietly announced, “Ron died last week.” It took some time for this to impact me… it just didn’t seem real. Our treasured cousin, gone?
I had a few hours to sink into my grief before family was due to arrive that early evening. I knew Ron had been ill, and was thankful to have spoken and emailed with him a few months previous. Still, loss has a way of sneaking up on us, and seems no respecter of age or time.
As the tsunami of emotions peaked and crashed on the shore of my soul, I sat before the LORD crying out reasons for my sorrow. It came clear again why we experience such pain when the love of those we love is severed by death, divorce, or whatever reason. I firmly believe, whenever possible, embracing the pain as it occurs, rather than saving it for another day. It is far less hurtful to face it early on than to carry an ever-increasing load of grief that builds upon itself the more we ignore, deny, or stuff it.
God revealed some deep things to me as I cried not only for Ron, but for the loss of those precious family experiences we once shared as children. He, his brother, my brother, and I enjoyed numerous summer visits, though our families lived nearly seventeen hundred miles apart. I miss those carefree days of tromping in the woods, fishing the river, chasing chipmunks and lizards, and just hanging out together. Life in general, the living out of morality and values, is much different now, challenged in new ways that are determined to separate families and friends. No, no time in history is ever without its angsts, but those times of life with our cousins were beautiful and uplifting. I grieved for many things in those Christmas Eve tears, cleansing tears that needed to be shed in today’s tensely wound world.
Not having scheduled deep grieving and crying as part of the day’s events, amazingly enough the tears eventually dried. Wondering how ever the day would unfold, and still feeling drained, I was thankful for dear husband reorienting my numb mind as we completed a last minute grocery run. Later at home, the tides of emotions continued to recede as we readied for the evening, and I was able to thoroughly enjoy our family, to be present in those moments without being overly burdened.
God is good, all the time. He meets us wherever we are, no matter the situation. He is well acquainted with sorrow and grief, and can certainly help us walk through our own. Speaking the grief outward and upward to Him allows that pain to be redirected off an ever-looping track inside of us, as He listens and lifts our burdens. Sure, we may need to talk with Him again and again. Praise be, His shoulders are broad and strong enough to carry whatever we bring! And like children being consoled, encouraged, or even corrected for our good and growth, indeed, in every instance He sets us free, in process, or in whole.
Thank you, Ron, Rick T., and Rick K. for the precious memories, and for your love throughout the years. Thank You, Father God, for all the special people who bring Your love and joy into our lives, people though when they die seem to take a great part of that love away with them. Thank You, LORD, that You are Love, and that You are still here, Immanuel, God With Us, today and every day no matter how overwhelming our grief may be. Thank You, LORD, You can bear our pain, and fill those empty places in us with Your Love, with Yourself.
John 1:14 (NKJV) 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.