A Journey Through Grief

It's all so very surreal, unreal, like a bad dream you hope to wake from but can't quite shed.

All this grief surrounding, overflowing, overtaking our very beings.

Sorrow is a nebulous and elusive companion, seeping into every crack, nook, and cranny of body and soul.  It stubbornly refuses to be neatly labeled into steps 1-2-3 or quickly placed inside a storage box for examination at a later, more convenient time.  

The oft-raging, yet sometimes oddly-at-rest emotions can't be separated from our beating hearts, our breathing lungs, our racing thoughts.  

Our very souls.

There is a great heaviness that descends, for grief is heavy laden and seemingly unmovable.  It lodges firmly in place, here to seemingly abide forever.  It crushes the spirit, dulls the mind, slows the body to a grinding halt.

There are no words, this is true.  

Yet something deep within longs to pull those spelled-out-somethings from hiding and print them in black and white so we can look this onslaught straight in the eye, wrestle with the pain, walk through it all, and come out the other end of the dark tunnel, somehow better for the journey, life-lessons gleaned, closer to the Holy Comforter.  

Those words fight to be released, but they seem locked inside, waiting to emerge at the appointed time.  But at some odd juncture, slowly they trickle forth, bathed in tears of disbelief or wrenching sorrow or the utter shock of all that has so quickly unfolded right in front of our helpless eyes.

We begin to tell our stories of sadness, of pain, of loss.  Sometimes the words come haltingly, almost imperceptibly ... and at other moments what is uttered comes pouring out in torrents of a painful yet oddly comforting release.

We are blessed beyond measure if there is another soul to listen quietly, to affirm what is most true about us with the gentle touch of a hand, a silent tear falling, the simple nod of a head, a word of grace and consolation carefully spoken.  Tender friends who refuse to lob Scripture at us, preach unwelcome words, or share their seemingly endless sagas in an effort to make our hard-to-watch pain somehow magically vanish from view.

And then ... there is a Sacred Friend who is so much closer than any earthly loved one could ever be.   

He, far above all others, truly gets what grief and sorrow are all about for He experienced them to a depth that we'll never come close to imagining.

We pour out our pain and He listens with His endlessly compassionate heart.  He whispers, 'peace, be still.'  He opens His arms wide, wounded hands beckoning us to crawl into the security of His strong embrace.  We lean in close to Him as He ministers comfort and hope and peace into the deepest recesses of our troubled souls.

And then, that glorious amazing grace descends gently like a dove.  

Somehow, by His Spirit, we are able to softly sing as we begin the process of releasing the untold burdens that have so quickly accumulated and overwhelmed.  For these unwelcome guests roll onto His shoulders and He carries them away.  And He promises that He'll keep on doing so as we repeatedly hand our tumultuous emotions over to Him, this Holy One who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

And the song we sing is the lullaby that the young mama sang to her baby boy each night as she readied him for bed.  The same mama who knew without a doubt, years earlier after a college missions trip to Romania, that God was calling her to someday adopt a little boy from that far-off land.  

Sweet little Tyler.  We loved you so.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul.  

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin - oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, 
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
~   Horatio Spafford   ~

His short life brought light to the world.


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