I don’t often pull the “you never know if today may be the last day for someone you love” card.
But I’m going to do it now.
People. Just stop.
Your need for a latte does not trump the necessity to stay away from potential sources of infection. Your need to socialize with friends because you “just can’t stand to sit inside one more minute” is not an excuse for ignoring requests from health care professionals to stay home.
Your careless and carefree attitude is putting others at risk.
It’s entirely possible that if or when you contract Covid19 it’s no more than a miserable two weeks. But it’s also entirely possible that the person you give it to might die.
Trust me, you don’t want to be the one who brought it home to your mama, your daddy, your spouse or your child.
There is nothing easy about watching someone you love suffer. It’s even harder to be forbidden from sitting next to his or her bedside, holding a hand, wiping a fevered forehead.
Dominic died almost six years ago. It is no easier on my heart this minute than it was then.
This is not a joke, not overblown, not a government conspiracy or a hoax perpetrated by whomever you think might do such a thing.
Do you love your family and friends?
REALLY love them?
If you do, thenSTAY HOME!
For those of you (like two of my children) who perform essential work during this crisis, thank you.
And may God place a hedgeof protection around you and those you love.
For many of us there’s a sense of being locked in time, stuck in space, unable to leave the moment one received the news or the few days before and after.
It’s maddening that the earth still turns, the sun still rises and people go on with life when in so many ways our world is frozen in place.
Elizabeth Gilbert describes deep grief as a “coordinate on the map of time” and a “forest of sorrow”.
I like that.
Child loss is a place no parent wants to go. I found myself in territory so unfamiliar there was no way to get my bearings.
Left alone, I faltered, would have stayed lost, was doomed to walk in circles trying to find my way out.
I desperately needed a guide.
Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.
Thankfully some parents, further along in this awful journey, created safe spaces for broken hearts to gather and to share.
I am oh, so grateful to them for that!
Not everyone who finds the way to hope and light chooses to come back for those still wandering in the forest of sorrow.
But some do.
They retrace painful steps carrying a torch and say, “Come with me. I can show you the way to hope.”
It seems to be the nature of humans to listen with an ear to respond rather than an ear to hear.
I’ve done it myself.
Jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions designed to “fix” someone else’s problem.
Or worse, heaped my own experience with something more or less (often less) similar onto an already overburdened heart.
I hate that tendency in myself and I’m working hard to try to change it.
Those who feel compelled to just say SOMETHING often bombard grievers with platitudes, comparisons to their own grief or just empty, frivolous words that require we either stand there dumbfounded or find a gracious way to exit the conversation.
It’s especially painful for a broken heart when a well-meaning someone decides THIS is the moment for a theology lesson.
“God has something planned for you in this” or “God will use this for good”. (Romans 8:28-29)
“We don’t grieve as those without hope!” ( I Thessalonians 4:13)
“All our days are numbered.” (Psalm 139:16)
I get it-death is a heavy subject and the death of a child isn’t something anyone wants to talk about, contemplate or be forced to wrestle with. So it’s often easier to simply say something-anything-do your duty and walk away.
But it is hardly helpful.
Deep grief as a result of unbearable loss is not a teaching moment.
It’s an opportunity to listen well, think carefully about if or when you need to say anything and simply offer compassionate companionship to a broken heart.
Grieving felt hardly like the time for being taught, at least initially. Early grief was my time for pulling out of my past those truths that I had already learned — out of my ‘basement — so that I could begin to assemble them together into something even more meaningful to me than before. It was the time for understanding that even though I had always believed in heaven, it now looked to my perceptions to be more real than this world. It was the time when, even though I already believed in God’s control of the world, I now felt dependent upon him being sovereign over it for all my hopes. It was the time for realizing that even though I already believed that Christ conquered death, I now longed to see death die.