I felt the tears before I knew they were mine, I felt them with surprise even as I watched tears pouring from her eyes with every word she spoke. She was pouring her heart out to me as friends do, and I understood her pain, as caring friends do. My sympathies, however, ran deeper than my friend could possibly know. This was something no one could know, lest it become real in the sharing and that is something too dangerous to risk. My friend did not know that I understood her pain so perfectly, so completely, because I shared it personally, it was my own as well.
She was grieving, mourning her loss, something I hadn’t the courage to admit I felt – the daily grief caused by the absence of her child. The power of sorrow over a life mourning a death is greater than we want to acknowledge. My friend’s child was not dead however, but their relationship was. She did not see or hear from her child, so the result was the same. Grief, loss, sadness, pain, – mourning daily for the loss of her child in her life, while clinging desperately to memories of happier times.
Odd that the pain is sharper, deeper, heavier, when mourning the loss of the living than when mourning the loss of the dead – but I find this to be true. Yet even in grief there is hope. And it is hope that sustains the broken heart. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 tells us that we do not need to grieve “as those who have no hope.” Here Paul is speaking of grief for those who have died, reminding believers that we will see our loved ones again in heaven. All is not lost.
Still, loss is painful. I think of so many things I would like to do with or say to or ask my mom, now regretting that I let those opportunities pass by while she was still here. Grieving for the living can contain a different kind of hope, if I choose to focus on the hope of possibility instead of the despair of the present moment. Hope is possible because,
” . . . with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
This is the hope that sustains during the dark days of waiting on God’s perfect timing to bestow His miracles of reconciliation and restoration of dead relationships, bringing them back to life again. I have this hope because my Heavenly Father is,
“the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17)
I have many friends at the moment who are mourning the living every day, and it is a heavy burden to bear. Today my tears mingled with those of my friend as we shared each other’s sorrows, continuing something women have done for centuries – bearing one another’s burdens.
It is interesting that the final words in the Old Testament are these,
“He (God) will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers;” (Malachi 4:6)
Then there were four hundred years of silence until Jesus came. That’s a long time to sustain hope, but God is faithful. He was at work in the years of silence then. He is at work in the years of silence now. May God fill my heart and your hearts, dear readers, with His hope, today and everyday until He comes again.
sincerely, Grace Day