Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Freedom to Mourn

Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55 

"...Where, O death, is your sting?"  Paul laughed in the face of death.  He certainly understood the riches and communion with God that awaited him on the other side of leaving his fleshly body here on Earth and entering into the arms of Our Savior.  This scripture is written to encourage followers of Christ and when you allow it to take root in your mind and heart it soothes all fears of death.  Many parts of Heaven are unknown to us this side of death.  But, as we read our Word we learn enough about Heaven to know that it is a glorious place that no one should have to miss.  It is something to be celebrated.  Those that understand this, face it with great anticipation.  Those of us left behind until our appointed time, face the sting of loss.

Death.  Where is it's sting?  I'll tell you where it is...

  • It's in the grief-filled heart of a woman that suddenly loses her husband in an accident.
  • It's in the confused eyes of that woman's two little girls as they struggle to understand why daddy isn't coming home.
  • It's in the silence and darkness of the night when you lay your head down to sleep but memories and thoughts relentlessly flood you until you feel as though you're suffocating under the weight of it all. You throw off the bed covers in hopes it will help.  You end up in the recliner staring at the darkness.
  • It's in the helpless realization that you can't control any of the situation.
  • It's in your pursuit of escape, whether it comes from reading, working, the Internet, TV, drugs, alcohol, music...whatever...just make it loud and fast.  Keep the distractions coming!
  • It's in the screams and anguish of a parent that has lost their child.
  • It's in the knot that forms in your throat and threatens to choke you to death.
  • It's in the deep breaths you find yourself taking because reality has knocked the wind out of you once again.
  • It's in the uncontrollable, unannounced outburst of, "No!" "Stop!" "Wait!"
  • It's in the drowning tears that come without warning.
  • It's in the "What might have been..."
  • It's in the deep grief that makes you want to melt into the floor.
  • It's in the anguish-filled eyes of a man that can't say "My father knew the Lord."
  • It's in the crippling pain that stops you in your tracks as reality plays out before you.
  • It's in the question, "Why?"
  • It's in the weary eyes of a woman that is facing the impending death of her once strong and full-of-life daddy.  The sadness is overwhelming.  No little girl ever wants to watch her daddy decline...much less say "goodbye".  He was supposed to always protect her, now she finds herself protecting him.
  • It's in the eyes of that woman's son who has always had a rock in his grandfather but now he must face being a father to a new daughter in a matter of days....possibly without his grandfather.
  • It's in the eyes of that woman's daughter who only thought she was prepared to celebrate her grandfather going Home.
  • It's in the eyes of two men that have been greatly impacted by the powerful and loving mentor and father-figure they both desperately needed.
  • It's in the eyes of that man's son that will bury his father within days of remembering the 1-year anniversary of his wife's death.
  • It's in the sadness of the future here on Earth without them him.
I say this all on the heels of my grandfather's impending death celebration.  Anguish.  Anger.  Hurt.  Sorrow.  Helplessness.  Fear.  Sadness.  Guilt.  Desperation.  These are all things that have run through my veins over the past few hours.  I have been preparing myself, for his death, for well over a year now.  I have thought that I would be ready.  In all honesty, I'm very excited for him to experience the freedoms and joys of Heaven.  Oh to bask in the tangible presence of the God that you have served all of your Earthly years.  To finally hear, "Well done my good and faithful servant!"  It sounds wonderful because it is wonderful...until the day is within reach and your flesh and heart want to mourn. They want to throw on the brakes and say "NO!"  I, in my selfishness, want to keep him here.  

If you're reading this and thinking that I'm going to wrap this thing up with a sweet little verse and a nugget of truth...well...you may get to the end and be disappointed.  I'm writing this so I can work through my grief.  Grief that will soon become joy because in the end, I know the Truth.  Until then, the Holy Spirit (and the confirming word of my irreplaceable friend) gave me permission to mourn.  He (and she) reminded me of Jesus weeping over the death of Lazarus.  Who would expect that the shortest verse in the Bible could bring some of the greatest freedom...the freedom to mourn.


  1. Update: We are 4 days into January 2013 and my grandfather is still here. He has declined but is doing far better than expected. We have all been given the precious gift of more holiday memories with him. He is not suffering, and we continue to pray peace and comfort over him. We know that time is short, but as his doctors are learning...only the One, the Author and Finisher of our lives knows the day when my grandfather will cease to be chained to this fallen earth.

  2. And on this bright June 24th, my grandfather is still here. I love how the Lord shows us that it's His timing and no doctor can override that with a prognosis.

  3. We buried my sweet grandfather September 19th. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more night...for him.