Because of LOVE…
Though weeping endures for the night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b).
Rain pelted my windshield as tears, too, left their trails.
Home from having taken our daughter to school, I sat a moment, only to discover a weight of heaviness in the too quiet car. Thus, I dodged cold, heavy drops from van to house, where, in its safe confines, I surrendered to my emotions and wept.
I’d been carrying burdens, and though I’d expected to thoroughly enjoy the stillness of our home once Allie returned to in-person instruction on merely her third day her sudden absence served as a reminder of so much change in the course of the last six and a half months since COVID struck. Thus, the breakdown–overwhelmed with sadness due to loss, injustices over which I hold no control, and fear over the future.
The dismal day didn’t help–the wet windows like eyes looking upon a gray world where everything appeared, like me, sullen. Seemed forsaken. Our Highlanders in the pastures–many who’ve lost calves in years past–hung their heads. Our aging flock of sheep dotting the hillside appeared cold and miserable. Trees along the creek bank were bent, some growing barren before leaves have had time to turn. And our typically tranquil pond was rippled with waves as gusts sent the water in eastbound sheets.
But there was more. There were much bigger matters pressing on my heart.
Both our young adult sons are experiencing life-altering challenges that, while good, have changed our routine, our family dynamic. No longer occupying their rooms upstairs, their absence has left a hole that hasn’t quite healed. I miss how our eldest son whistles as he works, his falsetto singing always bringing a smile, sometimes a giggle. And our second born’s jokes and pranks, even his propensity to too much time on his phone, with his, “Hey, Mom–look at this!”–where, nine memes out of ten, I’m left shaking my head, realizing yet again how he and I truly do speak a different language, our sense of humor oceans apart–yes, even this is missed.
Still, I have my sons, even if I don’t see them often enough. This truth and my grumbling over positive change prick my conscious and stir guilt as I think about Nancy–my dear friend whose son recently committed suicide only two years after her husband’s life ended similarly. She’ll never again hear his voice, listen to his laughter, feel his embrace. This sadness that can’t be measured feels hugely unfair, and I find myself crying out, Jesus–this is too much for any one person to endure. Shaking my fists at such injustice helps somehow, and I know my Savior is strong enough to take my flailing arms, remind me to clasp my hands instead, turn protesting to prayer. After all, it’s only there that one has any hope of discovering even the slightest sand-speck of purpose in the pain, though it certainly takes time.
And there’s fear too–its “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” echo snidely in my ear, steal my contentment, rob me of peace. Such is a joy-thief, I tell you, and I feel stripped bare–naked and exposed to the fiery darts of this enemy. What if someone you love is overcome by grief and depression and, in a moment of utter weakness, takes matters into his or her own hands? What if the last words on his or her tongue in that despairing moment are, ‘If only she had ….’?
And I shudder, feel sick in my gut, as I choke on the fowl taste of uncertainty and guilt and remorse that rises bile in my throat. I imagine demons dancing about, wringing their hands with sheer delight upon seeing a fissure in my faith in that dark moment. “We’ve won. We’ve won,” I almost hear them chant, their dissonant chorus further stirring chaos in the too quiet house, threatening to take me captive.
But despite my frailty, through my tears, I hear a whisper.
In your weakness I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
My perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
In that moment, I’m handed a sword, and this Child-Warrior lifts it just enough. Peace begins to replace chaos, and I wipe my tears, then lean in to listen–surprised to hear words from a friend, one familiar with heartache through the loss of an infant son some years ago.
Grief. It’s just another word for love unending (Stacey Thompson).
Yes, that’s it. My grief, because of love. I’m mourning my own minor losses, yes, but more–those also of others. I’m mourning the changes that have taken place in our home, but I’m grieving for loved ones–both friends and family members–who’ve suffered much more. Mourning the hatred that’s breeding hatred throughout our cities. Mourning the division in our nation. In our world.
Because of, not despite, love. Hence the grief.
And then, pressing closer, I hear the Spirit–the promised Companion, the One who remains even when everyone and everything else is removed. They’re Jesus’ words–
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).
The quiet house–raindrops still pelting the windows the only sound, aside from an occasional gust of wind–feels less lonely, less dismal. Rather, the space seems warmer, lighter–the blanket of gray beyond the living room creating a cozier atmosphere which stirs my Savior-inspired aesthetic heart, causing me to snuggle in deeper, allow myself to be comforted, hear again her words–
Grief. It’s just another word for love unending.
Grief isn’t bad, though not necessarily pleasant. Grief is good, though not necessarily welcomed. Grief because of love, perhaps a bearing of another’s burdens–the burden of a cancer diagnosis or the painful, scary discovery of an unplanned pregnancy. Grief because of love, a bearing of another’s burdens–the weight of an unseen wound that festers, not yet healed. The weight of loss too heavy to carry, when one falls in a heap and refuses to get up. Can’t see to go on, so blinded by the burden.
Demons flee at the raising of our weapon–those words of David and, even more, from the One who came to earth much later, a mighty branch on that family tree. The Lion of Judah.
In Him, we are comforted, though we grieve. In Him, despite weeping–because of His love–joy is discovered in the morning …
Yes, because of LOVE… even in our mourning.
How are you grieving? Why are you mourning? Is it sadness due to loss, perhaps caused by injustice or because of fear? Are you bearing another’s burden? Look to Jesus. Listen to His voice. Lay your grief at His feet, then remember: It’s because of love.
Please join me in praying for Nancy, whose grief, because of love, feels too heavy to carry.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5).