As I came around the curve I saw lights at the end of a driveway. I couldn’t readily make out what vehicle was flashing the red and blue… It couldn’t be an officer’s cruiser because the lights sat too high; this was more of a van-like vehicle. Moving closer my beams swept across the side to reveal Medical Examiner. My heart sank knowing then why the ambulance didn’t leave in a hurry earlier when we were on our way out. I had to hold back the urge to burst into a sob. We don’t even know these neighbors down the road but my heart breaks for them. Their driveway was filled with vehicles – family mourning their loss.
As we approach yet another Christmas and holiday season I find myself more and more aware of the pain of others around me. I love the holidays and there’s so much magic in it… but since my brother passed three years ago I have been so acutely aware of loss and the incredible pain of navigating this season in the face of loss and grief.
The loss could be of life and a loved one. It could be a marriage or dream. It could be the frustration of family or circumstances that leave us longing for justice, peace, or reconciliation. We were created and intended for relationship and intimacy with God as well as relationship and intimacy with others. When these are broken it causes such deep pain and when it’s loss of a loved one it’s not something that just gets sorted out over time like finding a new job or paying off the student loan… We can’t go back in time and I’m realizing more and more how people can get torn away from us so much quicker than we anticipate.
I’m not saying this out of fear. I will admit that in the early wake of my brother’s death I feared the loss of everyone I cared for. I would lay and imagine the call I was going to get upon hearing of my husbands death… I would think about how I’m going to lose everyone I love eventually over time… just the burden of deep loss and pain literally weighed me down to where it was hard to breath, hard to think, hard to want to get up and live a new day. God never left me and was right there gently pressing in, reminding me of his presence, power to comfort, and everlasting promise and truths. I struggled to find joy again, not wanting to move out of a place of grief and pain because I felt as though it meant I was moving on from my brother.
Man, what a process. And it’s not over. I’m finding that they’re right, it’s not something that’s linear and simple and straight. But I do welcome the pain because it all matters. Our loss matters. My brother matters. I miss him and wish things could have been different. But God has been so faithful to me.
So all that to say, I’m praying for you. And to be honest, it comes to moments where I don’t know how to pray or what to say, but the tears will stream. Please know God sees you and is coming for you. He’s promised to be with you and never leave you. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He out of anyone knows our grief so completely and will lead us in it and through it. He will lead you moment by moment how to navigate your pain and hardships.
He is good and faithful.
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:1-5 ESV