Death is surrounded by ritual and sharing.
Friends pour in and bring food, church members call and drop by, cards arrive in the mail to express sympathy and solidarity. We compose and publish an obituary. We choose the songs for a funeral. We stand and greet the mourners who file by the casket, shaking hands and heads and sharing stories and sorrows. Together we lower the casket and eat a meal.
So much activity.
So many people.
But then you go home. To the empty room. To the empty heart.
Funerals are public, but grief is solitary.
The comfort offered by others sheds light on my path, but in the darkness of night it’s only the light of a single candle that helps me find the way toward sunrise.
When Jesus prayed in the Garden, He asked His disciples to keep watch with Him but hey fell asleep. He struggled alone to embrace and accept the will of His Father.
I think often of His pain and find it easy to understand that He sweat blood.
The light that gave Him courage to face the grim task before Him was the promise of the unfailing love of the Father and the trustworthy character of His God.
It was the only hope for victory out of seeming defeat.
Sometimes I struggle to find courage to face the task of grieving my son for a lifetime. I cling to the promise of God’s unfailing love. I trust that He will redeem and bring victory.
This is the Light I cling to in the inky black of sleepless nights:
“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:4