Grief

Grief is one of those many faceted things that is kind of hard to define because it’s a process that has a starting point, a middle and no end.

I used to think that grief was an intense period of sadness that one experienced during a loss. I did in fact experience that aspect of grief to be sure, 12 years ago today when cops showed up at our door with a grief councilor to inform us that my brother was killed in a car accident. That aspect of grief is very real but the fatal flaw in my thinking was believing that I would experience that part of grief for a time and that grief would then end.

Most of what we experience is long, dull, mind numbingly constant and the very opposite of dramatic. It’s lack of drama is so pronounced and yet I cannot think of a word to best describe it. It involves going through the day to day of life while at the same time trying to reconstruct a puzzle with more than a few of the pieces gone.

It never quite looks right does it?

Yet we have to get on with the business of living. Which we do though never quite in the same way.

I have believed wrongly in the past that I don’t grieve well but at my therapist appointment today I was assured that I was actually really good at grieving. In fact the things that I sometimes secretly and sometimes not so secretly wish for, to be able to move through life unaffected by the sadness and the gravity of the loss I’ve experienced, would indicate that I wouldn’t be grieving well. To go through life without the sting of the emotion would be no life at all but sometimes the emotions are entirely too intense and I don’t feel that I express them with any kind of proper social filter.

I guess that makes me a bonafide expert on grief but there are no medals or Nobel prizes
to be awarded for this. There is only the mind numbing constant day to day getting on with life without some of the people that I most loved.

Even now, 12 years later it aches like an infected tooth that you cannot help but touch with your tongue. I’d ask for Novocain but that would just make me fiddle with it more. What I realy want, what I long for is the one thing that cannot be provided. It is that longing that pushes me toward the cross. Jesus longed for this world to be fixed without his having to die an excruciating death, he longed for the curse to never have happened, he longed for a people who would love him freely and without hesitation but that was the one thing that this world would not, could not provide.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that it killed you? God did.

Because he died in the place I should have occupied I hope, and believe, and trust that someday I’ll see my brother again. I hope, and believe, and trust that this life isn’t all there is, that the things that get so violently cut short by the brokenness of this earth can begin again, and this time sin will have no hold on the outcome.

I miss my brother.

 

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Someday Sunday

This life’s not getting worse

but it’s certainly no better

It is what it is,. Small moments of happiness and blessing in a world infected by sin

Broken

Marveled by the rate of decay some of us try to outrun it

While others pretend it’s not there

We distract ourselves with tasks and stuff

All of which rust before our very eyes

while we ourselves fall apart

I don’t trust the plan but I trust the one who made the plan

and that is enough for me, it HAS to be enough for if he is wrong and he didn’t raise from the dead than we are worse than bastards, It’s not that we don’t know who our father is we don’t have one

So we strive and toil in a home not our own looking for small moments of happiness and blessing in a world infected by sin

Last night we sat in a room and prayer for someone that most of us didn’t know because worst case scenarios sometimes do happen.

We huddled together and wept and spoke words to a God we know is there and whom we trust with our lives because he has told us that he has a plan

but I don’t trust the plan, but I trust the one who made the plan

The plan includes moments of agony and suffering. The plan has no provision for worst case scenarios, The plan promises that in this wold we WILL have trouble, so we strive and toil in a home not our own looking for small moments of happiness and blessing in a world infected with sin.

The one who made the plan has already defeated every worst case scenario imagined. I don’t need to trust the plan because I have a father who has gone before me and understands suffering better than I ever could. I have a father who has grieved more than I ever will, I have a father who will provide more than I will ever need.

This world is no worse or better

But He has overcome the world and someday, Sunday, I too will overcome

 

 

Expiration Date

I’ve always been the kind of guy who thinks an awful lot about death. When, how, why? Many of those questions we just don’t have the answers to but if there is one thing that we can all agree on it’s this

There is an expiration date.

This world has an expiration date. It doesn’t matter what worldview you hold, which theology you ascribe to or even if you don’t believe in spiritual things at all we know for sure that this world will not last forever. The most generous observation is that we have a few billion years left but someday our sun will die out but before it does it will get much hotter than it already is and all life will be wiped out on this planet. Everything we know or have come to hold sacred will burn and be turned to ash. This world has an expiration date, we don’t know when but the clock is ticking.

We each have an expiration date as well. Someday, someway, something will get us. Heart attacks or cancer or car crashes or drowning or fire. We all place our bets each day that we are live. As much as we would like to believe otherwise sooner or later we’ll remember how mortal we are.

A friend of mine at the small church I go to had his number come up last week. On Saturday we will gather and mourn and remember and celebrate the life of who we came to know as Bill.  We’ll also be reminded that someday those that love us will gather to mourn, remember and celebrate us. Death has a way of reminding us of that, This life we live is transitory, it’s fleeting, it will end and we will reach our expiration date.

As I write this, in the last week we have lost some famous people, some believers and some not. Roger Ebert, Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funicello. All had slow illnesses that they fought over time and all of them are now gone. But beyond the headlines, every single day, are more folks like my friend Bill. People that no one knows who are saying their last goodbyes to those of us who are left behind to carry on. Waiting for our turn, waiting for when our expiration date will come up.

A younger me, when faced with this reality rebelled against it. Refused to make true connections with people and raged against the God that set things up this way. As I have gotten older, matured and have learned more about my place in God’s kingdom I see this reality as a mere signpost. A reminded to not ever take anyone, anything or any moment for granted. Because we don’t entirely know how it ends it should make us want to not hold more tightly to other transitory people, events or things but to cherish those people events and things more.

Don Miller just posted on Facebook something that really rings true.

All the recent passings remind me life is short. Doesn’t make me want to succeed, though, makes me want to get quality time with loved ones

Just something to think about today.

 

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