Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Places You Go Alone

Today, one of our good friends lost his mother after a roller coaster illness and weeks in the hospital.  Seems like we've had a lot of friends and acquaintances lose their parents in recent months.  I suppose we're getting to the age where many of us are being called to the front of the line.  Quietly moving forward a step into the spot once held by the generation before us.  There's always seemed to be comfort in knowing you weren't the head of the line.  That you were still surrounded by generations of love.  There's something warm and safe about being cushioned between your parents and children but, I suppose, we all eventually come to the age when we're no longer nestled in on both sides.      

It's had me thinking about my own brushes with loss.  My own memories of grief.  I'm no expert. Don't have any degrees which would deem me qualified to speak with authority on the matter.  There are scores of people with more grief experience on their resumes.  Some that I wouldn't even want to think about much less live out.  But, I have loved and I have lost.

Today, while my friends were making phone calls and doing all the necessary tasks that come along with a death in the family, I was remembering the feelings of those first days.   

When someone you love dies, you are frozen.  Almost in a stupor.  The world continues to buzz around you but you seem to have become disconnected from it.  You're at a standstill.  In a daze.     

Nature seems to be oblivious to your pain.  It goes on with its natural course.  The sun comes up as scheduled and spreads its cheery light across the earth. The birds wake and sing their same happy songs.....oblivious to the sadness you feel.  The roses open into full bloom to show off their vivid colors.  The waves still crash and the sea is full of life.  Doesn't God's world know?  How can it be so joyful and carry on with its usual sequence?  How can the stars twinkle and the frogs sing?  How can the river not stop in its tracks?  Creation seems to be so unmoved in the face of your loss.  Its sounds and movements and changes go on as planned.  How can it not reflect your pain? 

People are going on about their day....their lives.  The sounds of them laughing, singing, and talking are almost offensive.  Sure, they don't know you or what you've lost.  They walk by talking about their lunch plans, ballgame scores, and other things you might have been interested in.......yesterday.  To you, they seem to be insensitive and unusually loud.  They're on their cell phones, playing outside with their kids, jogging past your house, unloading their groceries.......like nothing has even happened.  No one seems aware of this gaping hole in your life.  It's just another day for them.  Another day to run carpool, pump gas, and mow the lawn.  They don't even seem to notice the absence that's so obtrusive to you.               

Cars still zoom by.  The interstates are busy.  Drivers are honking at every little inconvenience.  Planes still land and take off again.  The garbage truck makes its rounds.  Your clothes still need washing.  Store owners unlock their doors, registers beep, and open signs flash.  Office lights are flipped on and telephones ring.  The emails keep coming and coming and coming.  Regular programming is blaring on the television.  How can something so devastating happen to you and the swirl of life around you not even slow down?  The traffic lights turn green and then yellow and then red......just like they did before.  It's business as usual like what you lost never even mattered.   

Your loss isn't printed on the front page.  It's not covered on the evening news.  When you walk past the magazines, there's no mention of it there.   

It's like the busy world doesn't realize what's missing.  

Sure, friends know.  Family knows.  Acquaintances know.  They are willing to walk beside you.  They promise to be there if you need them and their intentions are sincere and noble.  But, they don't understand that there are some places they just can't go with you.  There are some paths you have to walk alone without the company of other mortal souls.  There are some places so personal and some losses so intimate that you have to climb the narrow steps alone.  No one knows how you feel.  No one knows what you've lost.  No one knows what you shared.  So, you know that no other person can bear this for you or with you.  Even if you're grieving for the same person, you know your loss is different from theirs.  Only you can grieve the loss of your unique relationship.

It's in the moments when you find yourself walking alone on that road too narrow for human companionship that you feel God slip up behind you.  Only an omniscient God knows the places where you hurt and the spots which feel the most empty.  Only an omnipresent God can meet you there in those places and soothe them and start to fill them in.  Only the God who created everything can fully appreciate what you've lost and recognize the difference they made for you.     

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze."  Isaiah 43:2


Hope tomorrow is a good day!

Night!

     





        

      

14 comments:

  1. It's the little things you miss most, just being there. That's what my sister said about her late husband. There is no end time for grieving either. Now my mom is going through it.
    Your last paragraph, my sister would agree, helped her many of times.
    Beautifully written, Kathleen in Az

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    1. So sorry to hear about the losses in your family, Kathleen. And you're right...there's no time limit for grief.

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  2. Tears are streaming down my face because you did capture so much of what is felt! It never gets easier but it does become more bearable. Praise the Lord that He is there walking beside us during the most painful and difficult times. Thank you for your post.

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  3. This is so true. If it wasn't for the Lord walking with us and the hope we have of seeing them again in Heaven, grief would be unbearable! From one who has walked this valley.

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    1. You're so right, Yvette. Thank you.

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  4. Joni, I have not commented in a long time because I lost my precious Mama in October and have been experiencing all the things you talked about in this post. It is well with my soul because Mama is with Jesus now but my heart is still broken because I miss her so much. She was 101! We had her for such a long, wonderful time and I am so grateful for that, but it almost makes losing her even harder. She was the most amazing person I have ever known and being her daughter has been one of my greatest blessings. Thank you for this sweet post! You make me laugh and cry and ponder and always delight me! JeeJee

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    1. Oh, Jee Jee.......I'm so sorry about your Mama. You were very blessed to have her for that long but I know you must miss her terribly and the loss is still so new. I can tell by your words that she had to have felt every bit of the love and admiration you had for her. I can't think of a greater gift that you could've given her while she was here with you. Praying that every day gets a little easier. She's in good hands. Thank you for your sweet words.

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    2. Joni, I will have to admit that I have checked this post a couple of times in the past few days to see if there was a reply from you! Apparently I have become a stalker! It did bless me this morning to read your comments; I feel that we are friends because you have shared so much of your heart with us. I spoke to the Christian Women's Club in Tupelo in August, sharing my testimony, and actually looked at the guest list to see if there was anyone named Joni! Please keep writing because God is using your words and your stories to bring us pleasure and Him glory!!

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    3. Oh, Jee Jee......how sweet are you? Thank you for your kind words. I'm so excited.....my first stalker! I would've made the trip to Tupelo if I'd known. Didn't know you were a speaker! That's awesome......and so not my gift! :)

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  5. One of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Thank you.

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