“My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow.” Job 17:7
“My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.” Job 17:11
On December 29, 2010 our 32 year old daughter lost her life in an automobile accident. Grief has taken my heart by storm. I’ve been surprised by the intensity of the physical, emotional, and mental experience of this grief. Not yet a month later, I look at myself and don’t recognize me anymore. Part of me dwells in the past remembering her growing up, her wedding, the birth of her kids. Another part is in the more immediate past dwelling on the accident, the ‘if onlys’, and all that has followed. Part of me lives in today, pretending a normal life, completing the daily chores and exercises of existence. And part of me looks to the future, uncertain. I find myself wondering when I will once again live as an integrated being, when will I once again be ‘whole’.
Sleep is part of yesterday’s world – more than 5 hours at a time is unusual. Appetite is diminished – I’m as small as I’ve been since high school. Tears come at the oddest times and for the most ridiculous of reasons. In particular kindnesses and the words “I’m so sorry for your loss” undo me. I deeply feel other’s pain. My son-in-law, my husband, my grandkids, my daughters . . . deep, deep sorrow at this loss. And again I’m undone by the suffering of perfect strangers as they experience their own fresh losses. Something that I could have observed before and felt a measure of compassion for now brings me to a new and complete grief.
But I also note the incredible resiliency of a life lived in Christ. Worship music slays me and comforts me and raises my praise to the throne of God above. Those deep truths of mercy and grace and salvation and eternal life have taken on depth and flesh. I’m lifted and carried by an immense community of believers and friends serving me and praying for and with me. Scripture learned and imbedded in my heart comes to my rescue time and time again. God is good all the time resonates in my heart and spirit.
In my amazement at the power of this experience I got to thinking about God’s experience of deep grief at the death of Jesus on the cross. His only Son, mistreated by man, beaten to the place of not being recognizable, a victim of the conspiracy of sin and Satan. My emotions are but a shadow and image of the truth of who God is — oh what He must have felt. Ah, you say, but He knew how it would end. And, so do I.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death , is your victory? Where, O death , is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1st Corinthians 15:54-57