Four years ago I wrote this in the aftermath of enormous grief that engulfed our lives and our church. Today we will grieve as a church again, and it seemed a fitting re-post.
It’s been one of those weeks, or rather months… where the grief hits like a tsunami and leaves me rolling and careening and gasping for breath as I try to comprehend what is happening around me in the lives of my loved ones and friends. Deaths, cancers, depression, loneliness, suffering, loss, surgeries, pain… every week there is a phone call that sends me reeling, and they are reeling and rolling and careening and gasping far worse than I.
This past week has been one of the hardest for me, and I’ve spent hours on the phone or sitting with friends near and far, walking through a sadness that is seeded deep. But there is one thing that comes from every phone call: the encouragement that I, that we, that the suffering ones are holding onto something. There is hope beyond what we see, because God has given us the spiritual eyes to see beyond the wave that’s hitting. We’re holding onto Him. All of us. Clinging to truth that may not be visible in the shadow of the torrent, but it’s buried in our hearts, our minds, our souls, our very being.
Jesus is worthy. Jesus is sharing in our sufferings. Jesus is grieving here holding our hearts and our lives, yet He is with our loved ones in Heaven. Jesus is with us, too.
And in the aftermath, when we stare at the ruins around us, the carnage that has shattered our lives, we look and see clearly. We see that He is still holding us and He is the only One worthy of holding onto. There is no turning back, only walking forward, wading through the havoc, and clinging to hope. A hope that does not disappoint.
“It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories… The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think…I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.” (~Sam to Mr. Frodo)
My friend, Julie, wrote a post that shares the beautiful and creates a place to grieve the loss of man that so many of us loved. She writes, “Warren meant something to people, because he cared about people. You can’t fake caring. He was the real deal…”
You can read her post here.
It was a life well-lived.
He will be missed.