Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hello, Grief, My Old Friend

While driving to Ohio this past weekend, I missed my dad.

It’s not that I don’t think about him a lot. It's just that life fills up so quickly that I can put the hollow part of my heart on a shelf and go about my day.  It waits for me (that hollow spot), knowing I will inevitably reach up, dust it off, and carry it around with me when the time is right.

The time was right as I was driving to Ohio this past weekend, and I missed my dad. I was tired; Skillet seemed like a good idea. When you’re sleepy, “Waking Up, Waking Up!” is a great stadium chant to sing in a car.  But metal mayhem gave way to a song I had not heard and did not expect:

“I went to bed - I was thinking about you
I wanna talk and laugh like we used to.
When I see you in my dreams at night
It's so real but it's in my mind,
And now I guess this is as good as it gets

Don't wake me, 'cause I don't wanna leave this dream
Don't wake me, 'cause I never seem to stay asleep enough
When it's you I'm dreaming of, I don't wanna wake up

These dreams of you keep on growing stronger
It ain't a lot but it's all I have.
Nothing to do but keep sleeping longer
Don't wanna stop 'cause I want You back."

"'Cause I want you back." I had dreams of my father for months after he died. I wish so desperately I could have them again (and yet I don’t – it’s exhausting to wake up sobbing). Grief is such a confusing mix of “I hate this” and “Please don't let me forget.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Comfort One Another

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words."                                        1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
     There are three main observations in this section of Scripture:
  • Death brings grief.
  • Because Christ rose, Death does not have the final word. 
  • Comfort one another with the hope of the final Resurrection.
    The fact that death brings grief is really not earth-shattering. People have always grieved death. But I appreciate how the Bible does not look away from real life. There is no avoidance here. Life is sometimes very hard, and it does us no good to look away. There is something about entering into even the most painful emotions and events that is important in a road to recovery.