Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Grieving & Trusting

Currently I am looking at a picture of my Grandmother Betty and me that was taken on Mother's Day 2009. As it is for a lot of people who lose loved ones, it just doesn't seem real that she's gone, even though it's been a year ago as of August 27th. In the picture she is sporting a smile and leaning into me, with my arm around her. It just seems so unnatural for someone who has forever been a part of your life to suddenly be gone. It is even harder to believe when a person isn't old when they pass on. Such is the case with my Aunt Darlene, someone I loved very much who has been gone almost 4 years now. I remember playing pool with her, just sitting and having conversation, get-togethers at her house. I liked her smile and her laugh, and her strong personality.

I think that it is important to let yourself grieve and grieve hard. I remember after the death of someone at the Bible college that I attended, someone getting up in chapel and trying to explain to a grieving congregation that we need not grieve as others grieve because we have faith in God. While perhaps he was well-meaning, I wanted to go over and slap him in the face. Jesus himself is said to have wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. And during a sermon he declared: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)" That sounds a lot different than "Buck up, people, why are you crying?" It is important to grieve what we have lost; the friendships, the relationships, the talking on the phone til 2am, the hugs. It is only by walking through the pain and grief that we can come out to the other side, where, though some pain will still remain it won't dominate us as freshly as when we first lost our loved one.

My second point is that while we grieve and afterwards, we need to trust. When a baby is born it is often said that they have been sent by God, and that all the days of their lives have been ordained by God. During a lifetime, a person of faith may seek a strong relationship with the divine. In the Bible it is even said that we are ambassadors of God on earth. But what then about death? I believe that grief is real, but it is so not for the one who dies, but for those of us who are left behind. Once we have grieved and grieved hard, I believe that we can trust that, just as the person (my Grandma Betty, my Aunt Darlene, etc) was sent into this world by God and had a relationship with the divine throughout their lives, so too can we trust that they pass from this world back into the hands of God. They are being taken care of and are being embraced in an immense peace.

I miss my Grandma and my Aunt very much and I wish I could have just one more conversation with both of them. I continue to grieve for them, but at the same time I trust that they are being well taken care of in the hands of God.

I love you Grandma and Aunt Darlene.

Blessings to you today, friends,

Mark Andrew