Death sucks. Loss is not easy. And the biggest, most difficult thing about it? The fact that you feel guilty when you’re sad. You actually feel guilty. Why is it that humanity has a natural tendency to feel guilty when you miss someone that you love? It’s ironic, right? You love someone, and that’s perfectly acceptable when they’re here. And when they pass on, you expect yourself to grieve until the funeral and just move on. How tough are we on our own hearts!
It’s sad really, that when someone is lost, we add to the grief by giving ourselves grief. Perhaps it is because we have the wrong outlook on death. We focus on the earthly life because it is all we know; all we have experienced first-hand. Yet how beautiful is the life after this one? Where we reign with God for eternity? I don’t know about you guys, but that sounds pretty sweet to me.
One of my favorite worship songs directly applies to my situation right now. I’m sorry to my regular readers that I haven’t written for the past two days – but I had a death in the family (hence the theme for today’s post) and so I haven’t really had time/had much to say, unfortunately. Anyways, this song has been a stronghold for me in the last 48 hours.
Casting Crowns “Praise You in this Storm” is an absolute testament to God’s dedication to us. His desire to rescue us from that which is troubling is beyond the love that any human can show. It outweighs the devotion of any other being, because His love is transcendent and never-ending. Not to mention healing!
“As the thunder rolls, I barely hear
Your whisper through the rain;
‘I’m with you.’
And as your mercy falls,
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away;
And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm.”
Amen, right? But then there’s another side to loss. We can all think of that one person who “got over it” really quickly after the loss of a family member. And then people seem to notice that too, right? The person who is able to be laughing and smiling at the funeral, talking about all of the good memories? So that is taboo also, right?
So I guess what I’m saying is that there is no “proper” way to grieve. There is no “right” way to deal with a death, prepare for one, get over one, or cope with one. No matter how you do it, someone (or yourself) is going to think you’re too thankful for their life, not sad enough, not mad enough, got over it too quickly, or you’re dwelling on it for too long. What I’ve come to decide is that it should be the most personal, natural thing. Between you and God, that’s all that matters.
When you lose someone, accept the casseroles dropped off at your doors. Give a hug back to the person who is hugging you. Kiss the other cheek, go through the routine – whatever that may be. But when it comes down to it, grieve the way you want to, cope the way you need to, and remember that God is holding a tissue box for you the entire time.
He desperately wants His children – US – to come to Him in times of trouble. What are we, if not in need of God’s love and protection? That’s right, we are dust.
And now for the explanation of the title. This post is dedicated to Joyce Hessler, my great-aunt who went to a beautiful place called heaven on Thursday night. Her spirit was beautiful and she lit up the room. In the past few years, her condition had deteriorated medically, but her spirit and the presence of Jesus were so strong. To me, when I saw her the last time in October when I visited with my Grandma, her smile was still just as infectious as it always has been. Perhaps what I will remember more than anything else about her is the color lavender. She absolutely loved it. I remember going shopping with my cousin and we would pick out sweaters and purses for her – always purple! I remember how much fun Beth and I would have trying on her jewelry, and I will never ever forget the day when she and Uncle David reaffirmed their wedding vows on their 50th Anniversary. What an inspiration for love! She will be very missed, but for my personal way of grieving, I choose to turn to smiles and appreciation: for what she taught me, for what lessons she gave me, for the smiles she brought to my face, and for the memories that I will hold for a lifetime.