Death. Grief. Sorrow.
Those aren’t words that any of us like, especially when they involve those closest to us.
I don’t pretend to understand sorrow, though I have experienced it many times. I experienced it when my grandparents died. I experienced it when my own father was in a car accident, and again when my husband’s father lost his battle with cancer, and when my mama’s sister lost the same battle. I experienced it when husband’s grandmother passed on to glory. And I experienced it this week when my family buried not one… but two family members.
I can’t even begin to understand grief. It’s something we work through over time… and there is no time limit to it. Sometimes grief hits us like a tsunami, and it leaves a devastation in its wake that takes a long time to wade through and rebuild. Other times, grief drowns us in waves of memory, and we find ourselves crying in the middle of a busy aisle at Walmart for seemingly “no reason”.
But the tears flow for a reason. There is always a reason.
They flow because our souls feel a loss that can’t be put into words. They flow because we still love. They flow because we have lost part of us… and want that part of us back.
They flow because we are human – and we need each other. The tears flow because we are still alive. They are a sign of life… even in the midst of death.
After the death of his wife, Helen Joy, C.S. Lewis wrote,
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.”
I am not a theologian. But I am a believer. And I believe that God is not silent, even when I can’t hear Him. And I believe that God is doing something for me – even when we can’t see Him. And I believe that God is holding me – even when I can’t feel Him.
“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.”(Psalm 56:8)
Death. Grief. Sorrow.
Inevitable part of life? Yes. But it doesn’t mean we have to like it.
Lewis wrote, “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.”
He’s right. I’m just glad we don’t have to walk through the process alone.
“Even if I pass through death-dark ravines,
I will fear no disaster; for you (Adonai) are with me;
your rod and staff reassure me.” (Psalm 23:4)