Grief and Potential

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Yesterday on my way to a destination in Franklin I stopped at the Brentwood McDonald’s for lunch. Earlier that morning I texted a family member about what time they left my parents. I was curious about whether they got away when they intended. They did. Obviously they were here for Thanksgiving, and we had a wonderful time. My brother Jeremy came a bit earlier to install new kitchen cabinets for my mom, and they look fabulous. Jeremy’s work ethic inspires me. He texted late last evening they got home safely, so their trip took over 12 hours to make. They have 4 kids, and there is no easy way to drive to Orlando, especially with 4 kids.

When I left Franklin yesterday they were on my mind, and David was on my mind, and I think I was grieving them both. The departure of family through travel or death is painful. My mind couldn’t process both griefs, so it rested on David, and as I made my way toward Barbara’s house I saw she was home so I stopped. We had a nice conversation, and when I got home the flood gates opened back up for the rest of the evening as I cried myself to sleep.

I’m surprised I accomplished the work I accomplished after I got home, but I didn’t get nearly the amount done I wanted to because the grief was too chronic. I had to turn the computer off and go watch the news. When Carey and Chloe got home I didn’t even attempt to go back to it because I knew it would be for naught. We ate dinner, I did the dishes, and we watched Psyche for the rest of the evening on Prime. After I took my trileptal and went to bed I just cried while Carey comforted me. I finally gained “composure,” and I put my mask on to go to sleep.

This morning I woke up, made coffee and took Chloe to school. As I made my way back home I called a customer about a question I had, and it wasn’t long after that I was pushing the vacuum cleaner across a customer’s floor.

I’m thankful for the resources I have now that make this grief more bearable. Everyone goes through loss, but depression complicates it even more. Getting in a hurry to bypass the pain and suffering of loss and depression is ignorant, and if you can put into words like this powerful change can happen.

Grief, loss and depression make no sense. Don’t try to make it make sense because it will only add a level of frustration you don’t need. I find a lot of comfort and practical help my silently repeat Scripture over in my mind. This morning was not exception, and the following passage is “comfort food” for me.

So do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition let your requests be made known before God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Php. 4.6ff

I had to look up where that was found, so don’t punish yourself if you don’t know where a particular passage is found. That’s not the point. Prayer and Emmanuel in unguarded moments are.

Too many of us have bypassed the process of grief by pretending it doesn’t hurt as much as it does or not talking about the loss at all. God doesn’t mind if we beat hard on His chest. He knows the pain of our suffering because He lost His only son. We might feel guilty about moving on with life after a loved one has passed, but remind yourself that the loved one is no longer subject to the brokenness of this world. I’m quite confident David isn’t missing me the way I miss him. I have no way of proving that the same way I can’t prove to you God exists. I honor David. I respect him for the man who saw my potential, and I honor him even more by being confident in the work Christ Jesus began in me a long time ago. These words are fruit from that tree. There’s a reason David hired me to be a youth pastor, and that wasn’t just to have a lock-in with the teens. There’s a reason David let me marry his daughter, and that reason wasn’t just to create Chloe. God was and continues to work through David’s memory to make me into a man who glorifies the all mighty Father. I’ve been embracing that through the brokenness I face day in and day out, and all glory goes to the One Who made me.

I will never stop missing David this side of eternity. I will cry many more oceans of tears before I can truly grasp he’s gone, but one thing I will not do, and that is give up on life. I wish David had made it. I don’t know why God allowed him to die except that He decided David’s physical absence would be more powerful than his physical presence. That’s the only conclusion I can come to right now. So be it. The LORD gives and the LORD takes away, but damn it there will be one day when nothing is taken away. That day is not today as much as I want it to be, but it’s with that hope I get up every morning to do the work He has placed before me to do.

And I thank Him for it.

Always.

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