"Be to me a rock of refuge,to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." Psalm 71:3
"Sooner or later in life, the ones you love you lose...but You've got the love to carry me through" ~ Florence and the Machine
You will have to excuse me for this blog post. I don't know if this is the right medium to open myself up to, but writing has always been a refuge for me, a place to sort my thoughts. And my thoughts need sorting.
My Grandma is dying. I don't know when she is going to pass away from this physical life to the eternal one, but it will be sooner rather than later. And it breaks me. It brings tears, many, many, many tears. It brings sadness. And it weighs my heart down in a way that I have seldom felt before.
For, selfishly, it also means the death of some of my hopes, my dreams - the dream of having her at my wedding someday being the foremost of them - my prayer for the last three years when I learned that she was diagnosed with lymphoma.
And it causes so much regret, probably the most truly painful thing I have ever experienced - regret that I didn't spend more time with her. That I didn't get in my car and go visit when I easily could have. That I didn't call her on the phone when I had a spare five or ten minutes. That I took this relationship, which has always been a part of my life and supported and encouraged me in all that I have done, for granted. That I took for granted the gift and curse of time that marches on mercilessly each and every day. That I let excuses like "I'm so busy" get in the way. And that the whole time I was busy with ultimately meaningless things.
A piece of my heart is never going to be the same, sooner rather than later. It is going to bear the pain of loss - and in the meantime it has to deal with navigating through the day to day things of life. The day to day things which all seem so meaningless in the face of this.
I have always been one to soldier on - to walk through the days, blazing forth on whatever trail it is that I might be walking along. But this has stopped me in my tracks. It has bowed my head and covered my heart.
But thankfully in the midst of this, I not only have the Man of Sorrows walking beside me, but I have dear friends who are carrying me to His feet, lowering my paralyzed heart down through the roof, when I can do nothing. And their prayers, their reminders of His Truth are bringing my heavy heart before Him and His peace.
And I have learned that His peace is real. Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". And He is my comfort, my refuge in this time of turmoil. Jesus's arms have wrapped themselves around me and are sorting me through this pain that varies from a dull ache to a sharp stab.
And this pain and peace also remind me of all the experiences and losses that so many of my friends and family have gone through. It is a mystery of God how this hurt can both be so individual and so universal. For the impending loss of my Grandma isn't limited to just me - it is my dad and my aunt and uncles' mom - it is my brother and sister and cousins' Grandma - it is my second cousin's Great-Grandma - it is my Great Aunt's sister - it is her friends and neighbors. So it is with each loss suffered - it is rarely felt individually.
My heart has more thoughts and feelings but my words are done. Those will come out in tears - tears which are shed for both the loss and huge void that will be left in my family, but also for all those who are suffering and have gone through this pain before.
And so I end with this poem, which both brings me peace and comfort.
There is a peace that springs soon after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that does not look upon tomorrow,
But calmly on the storm that it has stilled.
A peace that lives not in joy's excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure;
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses,
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
It's not the peace that over Eden brooded,
But that which triumphed in Gethsemane.