Tuesday, February 1, 2011

34 Years Ago

She is eleven years old.  Relating stories told her by family members about a father she never knew, she drops silent, tears running down her face. We sit together for some time in the silence of her grief. Struggling to talk she manages to get out the words, “I have to get through the tears first.” The simple wisdom of her words seem so clear. She is not concerned so much with understanding why as she is with allowing her grief to be just what it is: grief. 

We rob ourselves of an opportunity to experience God’s love for us when we try to cover our grief with intellectual analysis, busyness, or plain old denial. My response to the death of my brother parallels this. Seven years I attempted to deny the fact I felt grief. Only after allowing the grief to surface and God to comfort me did I embrace the reality that loss exists and is natural. The understanding that followed centers around the impact this life event has on my character, personality, and life’s work. My brother died 34 years ago today. 

In time, this eleven-year-old girl may not grieve as hard for her loss. Meanwhile, her focus is simply to cry and receive comfort. May we unashamedly do the same. Whatever your loss, ask the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort to feel the loss with you. Allow His presence to silently yet lovingly be present. In time, we will be able to declare:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4)

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