“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11
Aftermath. This word tastes bitter in my mouth, yet it feels so right to describe so much. The aftermath in the wake of the Joplin tornado is incredible destruction. My sister just shared with me that her dear friend has been taken by breast cancer and the aftermath for my sister is terrible anger at cancer and sadness at this loss. I’ve watched the aftermath of losing Becky in myself and the lives of those I love. There is sorrow, a loss of joy and expectation, a seemingly inescapable trudging through each day without really living.
Aftermath is defined by ‘thefreedictionary.com’ as “a consequence, especially of a disaster or misfortune and a period of time following an event.” These definitions feel so fitting, but there is another definition that actually took me by surprise – “a second growth or crop in the same season, as of grass after mowing”. I’m beginning to see a glimmer of this second growth aftermath in my life and in the life of those most impacted by losing Becky. There are changes in the air brought about by the irrevocable change of not having Becky in our lives. Jacob and the girls are taking steps toward a move to be closer to family. Steve and I have had several conversations about changes to our lives, some small and some pretty big (no moves planned!). I’ve seen shifts in direction and thought in Joni and Kristin – we’ve all experienced new ways of looking at life because of our loss.
Aftermath. Loss brings gain in due time. One surprising loss for me and Steve is that we no longer care at all about ‘things’ except as those things can be used of God in the lives of others. Or maybe that’s a surprising gain! Knowing Christ, serving him and his purposes, becoming like him in his death and attaining to the resurrection from the dead – these things have retained their importance in our lives and actually gained value and focus. Five months after losing Becky we are amazed at our continued sorrow, but also surprised at the new things germinating in the fertile soil of loss. I suspect there will be hard times of intense grieving yet to come, but I’m also beginning to sense the glimmer of hope for fresh life – for a second growth crop in this season.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19