Today is the day things are supposed to be getting back to “normal” after the service for Louise yesterday. But how is that even possible when your world has been shaken and tipped on its end? Went out and about, spending time with all four of my kiddos…a blessing to be sure, but the sun didn’t seem as bright as usual. At points, I wanted to stop and shout to the world, “Everyone please stop! I need a minute! Something monumental and life changing has happened. How can you just go about your business as if nothing is different? My heart is broken and nothing will be the same.”
I think that Memorial services and funerals are like hitting the pause button. Those who loved the deceased take time to pause and reflect. It is a time to honor and respect life. The family is encouraged, and built up by friends and loved ones. A treasured moment in time to weep together, then we go our separate ways and resume. We hit play. However, for me, that is easier said than done. Grief up close doesn’t move in a straight line. It is more like a roller coaster moving through quicksand. Up and down. Side to side. Sometimes upside down. It is a ride that can take a long time. It almost seems as if everyone is moving slower…or maybe I am moving slower and everyone else is on fast forward. I don’t even have the words to explain it. A part of my heart is missing. I would like to have it back, but I cannot. I have to rearrange my soul.
I take comfort in the fact that God had the same dilemma at the death of his son.
“From the 6th hour to the 9th hour darkness came over the land. Jesus cried out in a loud voice. My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Then Jesus gave up his spirit. At that moment, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” Mathew 27:45-51
Nothing like complete darkness in the middle of the day to get people’s attention, and if that wasn’t enough to make a point, there was an earthquake that split the rocks open and tore the veil. It would have been hard to miss this death. I think God was saying, “Everyone please stop! I need a minute! Something monumental and life changing has happened. How can you just go about your business as if nothing is different? My heart is broken and nothing will be the same.”
Of course, he knew that the resurrection was coming and that truly nothing would be the same ever again, but to watch a son die, to not prevent it had to be heart wrenching. What could cause such restraint? His love for you and me…that’s what. He stayed his hand, because he knew death was going to die. He knew his children would be able to come to him once again, as if there had never been a gap between us. He knew that Louise would be able to enter boldly into his presence to receive the love he has stored up for her. He knew that there would be a “new normal” which would outweigh the pain of death.
Yet he relates to my loss and grief. He does not ask me to forget or ignore the pain. He enters into it with me. He allows me to feel it, even though it hurts, because he knows pain is intricately intertwined with love. And that love without pain is not real, because the heart is not fully invested. He does not leave me alone. He surrounds me with friends who express his grace to me in many ways, and in that, he stretches out his hands to embrace my trembling heart…and smiles as he whispers the promise, “Nothing will be the same.”