Grief has a way of changing you. I never really understood it until about two years ago even though I’ve had my fair share of grief before that.
What is it? Depends on where you look. You can google the heck out of it to find the definition that best fits your needs at that moment. The dictionary defines it as a “deep sorrow.” For me grief takes many forms. It is anguish. Pain. Agony. Irritation. It is anger. Annoyance. Denial and loss. It is tears being shed in private and public. It is the hanging of your head, but also the lifting of it up. It is the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. It is all the words and none at all.
In the last month I have grieved. Grieved for circumstances I have taken for granted. Grieved for the past and the future. Grieved for the known and the unknown. Grieved for the equality and the injustice. But, most of all, in the last month I have grieved in a way I have never grieved before. With hope.
You see, in the last month my husband and I have had the displeasure of having been ripped from five of the most important people in our life. The first time it happened it was a blessing in disguise. Suddenly peace and stillness came into our home. Suddenly laughter and joy echoed off our walls. Though we grieved for the lost future we also clung to the hope of tomorrow.
Two weeks ago when the second wave hit I wasn’t sure there was any hope to cling to. Suddenly, I was not able to breathe. Suddenly what I felt was a sure footed world was shattering all around us. Suddenly I could hear the echoing of my screams of “no!” ringing in my ears. Suddenly I could feel every shard of glass that was my heart tearing up every single part of me.
Two weeks ago I sat in a chair in a church I have come to love, eyes puffier than a puffer fish, grieving. Before that night I had watched an incredible woman of God lose her father and still show up in faith. I watched her faith strengthen her. I saw her pain, her hurt and still watched her praise. I admired her strength through such a process and wondered how she did it. As I sat there in that chair that night I suddenly understood.
Suddenly, in that chair, in the midst of heartbreak, in the midst of shame and embarrassment, I found strength. Not my own. But of the husband who held on to me as I wept that day. Of the friends who dropped their life to come over to check in. Of the church family who never questioned just stood beside us. Of the Pastor who, unknowingly, gave me the strength to walk into the church that night just by standing at the doorway greeting others. I found strength in the love of Jesus as He cradled me and wiped my tears. I found strength in His grace as I gave Him the guilt and the shame. I found strength in God’s mercy as I leaned into Him instead of trying to handle all this loss on my own. Suddenly through the roller coaster of emotions grief brought I knew I was not alone.
Two weeks ago my world was shattered. But, as quickly as the pieces fell those very same pieces God picked up and glued back together through promises, through tears, through laughter, through fresh beginnings. Suddenly with what felt so bleak and hopeless no longer was. God picked up those broken pieces and gave us hope. Not hope that things would go back together just as they were. Not hope that we’d get back what we wanted. He gave us hope simply because He knew that is what we needed. Suddenly, as quickly as our world fell apart God took hold to bring it back together.
We are still grieving. But when the darkness begins to settle suddenly we feel a lifting. When the tears begin to fall and we begin to doubt suddenly we are overflowed with comfort and peace. When the anger of injustice kicks in suddenly unspeakable joy overflows. And it is then, during those suddenlies, we lean in.
For the love of self I will allow myself to grieve for I know the hope of His suddenlies far out way the heaviness of anything else. xoxo