December 30, 2010 — Day 2
The morning after the accident we arrived at Jacob’s sometime mid-morning. We greeted Jacob, Amity and Dara with fresh tears and grief. Not long after our arrival Jacob’s family came and tears fell again. Soon we were all finding small things to do to ‘help’ – picking up, loving on the girls, asking gentle questions that would help us know what needed to be done next.
Friends of Jacob’s came by and offered food, and childcare, and whatever support we needed. Amanda, a next-door neighbor, suggested that we put a notebook on the table to jot down questions, thoughts, situations prompting thanks, phone calls – all those things that might be important to us later, but that would be quickly forgotten in the fog of grief. This very practical suggestion was immensely helpful.
At some point in this first very long and emotional day I found myself sitting on the sofa. I looked up into the dining room and saw a wall hanging that I’d seen hundreds of times before. It said:
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24.”
All I could think was “Really Lord? Really?” I’ve sung this verse so many times – going on walks with the grandkids we would sing this verse; I’ve sung it to myself; I’ve sung it with others – it has been an easy verse for me. I think I realized then that Becky’s death is the deepest test my faith has undergone. There was going to be no easy joy in my life, not for a long time. But I could choose to rest on the foundation of joy poured into me by years of living in Christ. Since that night I feel myself living out my days in ‘layers.’ Each day has a layer of pain and grief in it, but that grief is poured over a certainty and assurance born of faith. There is a deep well of joy that does bubble up through the layers of grief and pain. I know with the greatest certainty that I will see Becky again. I know that she is part of the great cloud of witnesses that is cheering me and all of the rest of this hurting family on in the great race of life. I know that God will give us what we need to endure and ultimately to enjoy life again.
I love words so I looked up the word ‘rejoice’ in a lexicon. It means ‘to spin around under the influence of any violent emotion, usually rejoice.’ As I reviewed that definition I realized I’ve read it before so I searched a bit more and found this same word in one of my all time favorite verses:
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
I’ve been praying this verse over my granddaughters Amity and Dara. We are all definitely spinning around under the influence of violent emotion right now and God is right there spinning with us. My prayer to this rejoicing God – “Lord restore unto us the joy of our salvation; remind us of your joy in our salvation.”