Apr 19, 2013

Waves of Grief

Grief is often described as a wave or waves - "a wave of grief."  It can be gentle, easy, waves that enable you to bob through the highs and lows, hold hands, hug... smile.  You might even stand up firm and avoid the wave, let it splash around you.

Grief can be brutal, a wave that suddenly breaks down on you at the most unexpected time, knocking you off your feet and out of breath.  You just have to roll with it, powerless.  You ride it solo, afraid, maybe angry, but ride it you must.  It can't be stopped.

My family is in an angry, churning sea right now.  I am experiencing all types of waves.  The good and the bad.  I can handle it, I've learned to wrap myself in God's Word like a life jacket.  To hold tight to friends.  But I can't handle watching my children in it.  I would never, ever let them get in an angry sea.  Never.  But it's not my choice.  So as I pray and try to ensure they have their life jackets on tight, I wait.  I know time heals and faith and trust grows, but still.

Here's what I wrote about grief many years ago after the initial shock, when time began to heal....

Grief is staggering, breathtaking, lonely. Grief is a weaver. He spins relentlessly by remote, by chance or by intent, selecting obvious and not so obvious materials to bring together, selecting surprising strands to blend, strands we ourselves would never put together. It's the oddball strand the weaver coaxes into the mix that brings surprising relief, catching one off guard, perplexing, inviting, challenging. A strand that offers new perspective or soothing relief, perhaps a gentleness in an otherwise harsh fabrication.
Day after day, hour after hour, the Weaver works with inspired fury. He requires little food, little sleep; he demands respect. The Weaver works at random, pulling in a synthetic thread, then tossing it in favor of a natural or a silk. Finally, all passion spent, the Weaver slows down, breathes, looks around. Life. Yes, life remains. The Weaver blinks, unfolds himself, releases his grip and woodenly walks away, leaving behind an unusual collection of substance . . . forming, mixing, clinging, rebuilding.

The prophet Isaiah wrote "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me. To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, 
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..."

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

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