Repost: The Silent Joy of Memory

There is something about winter mornings that invite me to linger long in my rocking chair with my cup of coffee.  It’s cold and outside chores can wait a bit.

When I sit here, my mind wanders to many things-mostly days gone by when my busy household would have made these long, slow mornings impossible.

And I miss it.  All of it.

Especially the beauty of an unbroken family circle.

I try to hold onto the precious moments as long as I can.

We live in a noisy world.

Music, television, voices and the hum of electricity tunnel into our brains and distract us from hard questions and painful circumstances.

We live in a busy world.

If I’m not in motion, I am getting ready to be.

It is tempting in my grief to try to stuff life full of noise and busyness so I can ignore the pain and emptiness of missing my son.

Read the rest here:  The Silent Joy of Memory

Repost: Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice

Our family watched the movie “Sully” the other night.

I cried when they showed the real people whose lives were spared hugging and thanking Captain Sully for his choice to do what was necessary to save them.

Because I know that each life saved also saved lives of otherssaved them from the awful burden of grief and sorrow that would have become their daily experience.

Read the rest here:  Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice

Here We Go Again: Season of Joy-Blessing the Brokenhearted During the Holidays

I wrote this two years ago,  our second without Dominic.

This will be our fourth.

I’m still feeling my way along this path, still trying to figure out how to honor the missing and love the living in ways that are meaningful and helpful. I didn’t get a “how-to” book when my son died. I and other grieving hearts are doing the best we can.

Most parents feel a little stressed during the holidays.

We used to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving before our 24/7 supercharged and super-connected world thrust us into hyper-drive.  Now we zoom past the first day of school on a highway toward Christmas at breakneck speed.

For bereaved parents, the rush toward the “Season of Joy” is doubly frightening.

Constant reminders that this is the “most wonderful time of the year” make our broken hearts just that much more out of place. Who cares what you get for Christmas when the one thing your heart desires–your child, alive and whole–is unavailable…

Read the rest here:  Season of Joy: Blessing the Brokenhearted During the Holidays

Of Leaking Buckets and Grief

I first wrote about this a few months back when I was pondering the FACT that no matter how wonderful the moment, how beautiful the gift, how marvelous the fellowship of family or friends, I am simply unable to feel the same overflowing abundant joy I once experienced.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about the great heroes of Scripture and studying their stories in detail.

I may be wrong, but I haven’t found one whose life did not contain pain.

It appears that sorrow and suffering in this world is one of the chief tools God uses to help the hearts of His people long for the world for which we are made-the eternal city whose Builder is God:

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs with him of the promise. For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.

Hebrews 11: 8-10 PHILLIPS

Some point to  lack of abundant joy as proof of a weak faith.

I counter that obedience, in spite of the lack of abundant joy is proof of rock-solid faith.

Walking on in spite of my empty bucket means that I am trusting God to fill it even when I can’t see how.

Here’s the original post:  There’s a Hole in My Bucket

 

Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice

Our family watched the movie “Sully” the other night.

I cried when they showed the real people whose lives were spared hugging and thanking Captain Sully for his choice to do what was necessary to save them.

Because I know that each life saved also saved lives of otherssaved them from the awful burden of grief and sorrow that would have become their daily experience.

I’ve written here a great deal about the need for friends and family and the church community to “mourn with those who mourn”.

The ones who have no choice to but to walk this Valley of the Shadow of Death need faithful, compassionate companions.

My heart has been forcibly expanded by sorrow until it literally breaks again when I hear of another family that must bear this burden.

But tonight I realized that this deep grief I carry has created an equally strong and proportional reaction to the great joy others experience when lives are saved.

Because I know, know, know exactly what it feels like when the outcome is disastrous, I can feel a joy that those who merely escape it will never know.

I know by terrible experience what they are spared.

Not only what they get to keep-

but also what they will never be forced to understand.

They rejoice because they imagine what might have happened.  I rejoice because I know what it feels like when it does happen.

When death is thwarted my heart dances.

I sing the song of victory over the forces of darkness.

 

Remember when the Eternal brought back the exiles to Zion?
    It was as if we were dreaming—
 Our mouths were filled with laughter;
    our tongues were spilling over into song.
The word went out across the prairies and deserts,
    across the hills, over the oceans wide, from nation to nation:
“The Eternal has done remarkable things for them.”
 We shook our heads. All of us were stunned—the Eternal has done remarkable things for us.
    We were beyond happy, beyond joyful.

Psalm 126:1-3 VOICE

 

My Cup Overflows

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5b

I remember standing in our field with my husband at sundown one day, thankfulness and grace and mercy and wonder flooding my heart-and I whispered, “surely my cup overflows!”

Surely, God’s hand is in this, is on our lives-He has brought us to this place of blessing.

And that’s how I used to always think of that verse-the cup overflowing with goodness and blessing.

But what about when the cup overflows with sorrow?  

With pain?

With tragedy, trials and temptations?

jesus in the garden

Jesus knew about that cup.  That’s the cup He begged the Father to take from Him.

The cup that was bitter and hard to swallow.

He prayed three times, He sweat blood and He battled His flesh so that His spirit could conform to the Father’s will.

And in the end, He submitted Himself to the Father’s plan.

He was obedient, even to death, even to death that He did not deserve, did not HAVE to suffer, did not WANT to suffer.

I have buried a son.

And it is the most painful thing I have ever had to bear.

It’s a burden I never anticipated and it’s a burden of which I will not be free until I join him in Heaven.

There are some parents who have suffered the loss of multiple children. Or who have suffered child loss and other difficult life circumstances.

If my cup is full and overflowing, theirs is overflowing still more.

Where to take that full cup?

Where to find the strength to carry it, to drink it to the dregs?

When my heart screams, “No more!” and my body cries, “I can’t do this!”, I look to my Savior for the model of how to carry on.

Only in Christ, Who Himself bore the cup and Who drank its bitter fullness can I hope for strength and redemption.

The One Who knows my pain can carry my pain.

The One Who lives again will breathe life into my heart.  

The One Who redeems what the enemy has stolen will turn my mourning to dancing.  

cup of blessing

This cup will not always overflow with sorrow.  Around the banquet table at the wedding supper of the Lamb, it will once again be full of joy.

You make me know the path of life; in your presence is unbounded joy, in your right hand eternal delight.

Psalm 16:11 CJB

 

 

The Silent Joy of Memory

We live in a noisy world.

Music, television, voices and the hum of electricity tunnel into our brains and distract us from hard questions and painful circumstances.

We live in a busy world.

If I’m not in motion, I am getting ready to be.

It is tempting in my grief to try to stuff life full of noise and busyness so I can ignore the pain and emptiness of missing my son.

But there is quiet beauty in the unfilled space of my heart–the spot once brimming with the living essence of the son I love.

In the silence I can hear his voice and see his smile.

So I will guard the noiseless place that still belongs to Dominic and keep it as a treasure,  a comfort, and a tribute to him until we are together again.

There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer