Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The day after the day....

I've likened to a grief hangover. Added to that I managed to contrive a head cold that is marching into my chest and the past 48 hours have been, um, s.p.e.c.i.a.l.

There is always and only one place to run when the circumstances of consequence and Providence land on your head like a wet cat--His sanctuary. Honestly, I went there to hear Him vindicate my hurt, my frustrations, and my self-pity that "this" is my lot. Faithful to Himself, He didn't do any of that.

Instead He showed me how abundantly He has poured out grace on me through what was His lot. His lot does not change the temporal facts of mine, but it does change the focus. Every time. Sometimes focus changing is the baby step to keep you from deeper quicksand.

I've known a great many people who have suffered great loss and greater loss than me. The study of grief in my life has spanned twenty plus years. Loss seems to either define you or inform you. People who are defined by loss are inwardly turned. Life itself becomes an enemy because the dailyness of it causes deep ruts that shout about unfairness and discontent. The constant refrain is about what we wanted and what we did not receive and what we still yearn for now. It is questing for better in this temporality that rarely, and even then barely, contains mere shadows of what better truly means.

People who are informed by loss are outwardly turned. Life becomes a progressive journey home that will be marked by faithful and faltering steps and by both the shouts and sometimes the whispers of voices singing, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" There is joy to say, "This is not my home." There is contentment in understanding that rightly we know ourselves to be aliens residing in tents longing for a heavenly country.  There is peace in knowing that our mourning over death has its place but not its permanence.

Every year on the anniversary of James' death I struggle in the tension of being defined or being informed. I'd like to think that most days of the year I live informed. Remembering and celebrating that His sovereignty in my circumstances shouts great purpose to my days and declares His goodness. That for what He has given and for what He has taken my answer is, "I love Him more."

But on the days when I feel defined, when I think wrongly, and when I become mired in what could have been and what should have been, it is His hand that lifts me up to set my feet again on firm places. Head cold or no.

May His Name be praised!

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