Sunday, March 25, 2012

What We Grieve

Last week at church during worship, I was having a heart to heart with God.  It was one of the times where I was just having a hard time believing there is more than the grave after we die.  As I prayed these words, I felt guilty that I could even doubt, but it's where I was at...and this is what I prayed....
"Please show me that she isn't still in that grave.  Give me something so I know heaven's real"

Just then, I kid you not, we started singing a new song.  We haven't sang this before - at least not that I remember? - and it starts like this:

I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You're shaping my life

I put my hand in the air and at the same time looked up.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rachel's handprint right under my hand....lifted to God.... and I could only imagine what worship is like for her in heaven.  But, I could sense a closeness to her - knowing that in that moment, we were both worshipping together - no matter how far apart.  I started crying and then the it came to the chorus:

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you're good and your love is great
I'm broken inside, I give you my life

And I just knew, God was answering my prayer.... Faith to trust what He says.  The hard to understand.  The mysterious.  It's a gift.

This blog post has been on my heart all week, along with another one... and given how this all just happened, I need to combine them.  So here is the other one...

Yesterday I went to a funeral.  I didn't know the girl well, although I did go to beauty school with her and I remember her coming to the benefit concert my family had for my uncle Dale & Rachel while I was pregnant with my girl.  I remember her telling me she read my blog and encouraging me in my journey...But I wasn't friends with her.  My family grew up with hers and so I went to be there for her parents, really.  She was only 32 and left behind 3 little kids after a long and brave battle with cancer.  It said in her obituary that she wanted people to wear bright colors - or her favorite purple - to her service. 

I pulled up on the side of the road in my purple sweater and I watched as people flooded the streets in Hawaiian print and purple clothes.  My eyes filled with tears and the post that's been on my heart came back to me....

What am I grieving?

I'm not grieving my daughter, sister, mother, friend.  So why am I sad?  Why does this hurt?

I walked through the building, watched slideshows of her growing up and of her with her kids.  I watched her kids walk around and everyone watching them with sad eyes.  I looked a her photos.  I hugged her family and friends.  I tucked her picture away in my bag along with a purple Lyndt chocolate.  And as I passed a little room on the right, I looked in to see shelves covered with little boxes - and above them on the wall the words: 

"Permanent Memorials"

I looked at the different sizes, colors, choices....I thought about the moment you have to decide on which one for the one you love.  I remembered the day I went to look at baby caskets.  I wondered if I should have had Rachel cremated so I could bring her everywhere with me.

My heart sunk into my stomach.

I thought about how many people came to Rachel's service that didn't know her.  I was the only one who really did know her.  They weren't her mother, sister, daughter, friend.... but they were crying.  They had their own grieving process, and I'll admit some people closest dramatically misplaced their grief and foolishly thought they were having the same experience as me...  but I'll never deny that they too had to process what was happening. 

Because old people are "supposed to" go first.  Mother's shouldn't have to bury their children.  Whether they are 43 minutes old or 43 years old.  And it dawned on me that I think when things happen out of the natural order, we grieve something more.

We grieve for the motherless children.  The childless mother.  We grieve for lost hope, shattered dreams, and how little we knew 'back then'.  We grieve our loss of control, things going opposite of how we prayed, and how this forever changes our view of life.  We grieve the simpler days, the harsh reality of death, the effect of sin. The fear of the future.

We grieve the unknown. 

We grieve the fresh winds of the spring day that will always bring back the memory of the color purple.  Or the cold winter days that remind us of white daisies on a baby's casket just before Christmas.

We grieve our ignorant bliss, the days before we knew people who had died, the picture in our minds of our family all gathered years from now at Thanksgiving Dinner - knowing there either is going to be - or possibly could be - someone missing.  We grieve life and how fleeting it is.  We grieve how the world goes on... the cars stop to let us cross completely unaware of why we're wearing bright colors. We grieve the fact that she wrote her own requests for her service at just 32 years old and what her family went through with her as she fought her cancer.  We grieve the diagnosis day. We grieve heavy hearts in a fast paced world. 

We grieve permanent memorials.

(I just stopped  for a secong and rubbed my face... I looked down and the clock read 1:43.) 
God, I miss my girl.

First the same song as last week played.  And these verses spoke to me...

I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me
I may be weak
Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will

In my flesh, I'm unhappy, sad, disappointed.... and a little mad.  But in my weakness, He is strong.  He knows.  He cares.  He hasn't forgotten.  My grief is not too big for Him.  And neither is theirs.

And with the chorus, I again did the only thing I can... I leaned on Him

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you're good and your love is great!
I'm broken inside, I give you my life

And then the most 'ironic' thing happened.... after worship, during our prayer, they prayed specifically for people battling cancer and their families.  Then they prayed for people grieving the loss of a loved one.  My heart ached for her family and the days ahead of them.  But I know He's here.

All I am, I surrender to You - My great God who was, and is, and is to come.  I believe You.  Help my doubt.  Give me faith to trust what You say.  To believe that even in these hard times, You are GOOD - and Your love is GREAT.

1 comment:

  1. I heartfelt yes, Stacy. Your post brought back many of the things I was pondering when I went to a funeral recently for my friend's father. I never thought I'd feel so much in my life...hate what has happened (and is happening)and the grief I bear but at the same time, appreciate how I've grown (and am growing) closer to God. I appreciate how you've put so many random, but important thoughts together in one post. Beautiful, as always.


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