“The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26
It has been an unusual week. Many people that I know on Facebook have died or had family members die in the last few days. There have been beloved aged grandparents, children who have been fighting cancer for years, even a minister John Paul Jackson whom I respect; they have all died this week. Even as I was writing this blog, I find out that in a town near me a pickup truck ran over a family killing 3 children.
Death was never part of God’s original plan, until man sinned and brought it into the picture. I believe that’s why it feels so obscene and unnatural; we were not created to experience it but we do. It’s easy to understand when someone does something deserving of death but what about these children, what about this minister with so much more to give, what about my daughter who died of cancer while she was giving so much love and life to my family?
It’s easy to see it as obscene, wasteful and senseless. But I have seen another side to bereavement. That puts me in a unique position to understand and speak about this loss.
What would I say to the parents of these children, or the children of these Grandparents?
NOT A DAMN THING.
I know better.
Often, well-meaning people try to make the grieving feel better by using rational means. It is of some, but very little comfort. If it is coming from a place of trying to get the griever to feel better so that the “comforter” can feel better it can be quite unhelpful.
The only thing the griever will feel for a long time is that they hurt. All that they will be able to receive is people that care enough to get in the pain with them. Rational thought has little to do with what they are feeling.
When my precious Boey died I asked WHY a million times. I tried to find answers but none were good enough. It was then that I realized that I didn’t really even want answers: I only wanted my daughter back with me. The only thing that felt real or true was when I would cry with my wife or when friends would cry with me.
When I would pray with someone, if they tried to “fix me” or help me to see it would be the last time I prayed with them. But when someone would honestly say, “I don’t even know how to pray, I have no idea how you feel and they would have tears it was the best prayer of all!” It was validating and I felt loved.
Grieving is very hard business. It changes your heart. I have seen God use it to change mine in big ways. I often said in the beginning months that when I got to Heaven I would have a list of questions I would be asking GOD and I said it with denigration. But as the years have gone by I have begun to understand. Don’t ask me to explain right now, it makes no rational sense. That’s one of the things God has worked on and changed in me; learning to rely and trust my heart rather than only rational thought.
I have seen and I have an intuition about how God has changed many things that I hold dear. As I try to capture rational words they fall short of my goal of explaining. That’s the idea; some things are not in the realm of rational. The best things in life are not found in the realm of rational.
If you try explaining why you love your spouse or why chocolate tastes good, it defies explanation. To convince anyone that GOD can use something even so difficult as death especially in so few words is too tall an order for me. I can only declare what I know to be true in my life: Death, even when it seems to be illogical, senseless, and offensive can be used by God to create something beautiful. I see it and I live in it. I have only touched on the concept but trust me it’s true even if I haven’t expanded upon it.
But if you desire to quote me in any way shape or form to someone who is suffering grief; Bite your tongue because they don’t need any explaining, they really just need your love.