After 5 years and many, many posts about my dad, I’ve debated what I should write about today. Losing him has been an all-encompassing, ever-changing and continual experience; life goes on and we laugh and grow and cry and progress, but the fact that he’s not here living life with us…well, it feels just as fresh as today, in some moments. You know that if you’ve lost a pillar of a person in your life.
If you’ve followed my blog over the past 4 years, you know that I’ve written countless times about my memories of him and loss in general. In fact, that process of grief is what inspired me to start this blog in 2009, a year and 4 months after he died. I created it to give me an outlet to share my thoughts and encourage others in the process. (If you want to read my first little post, here it is.) If I’ve been blessed to be a part of your life, in Bible study with you or just as friends, I know I’ve mentioned my dad several times in one way or another, too. Sometimes I’ve wondered if people are secretly rolling their eyes when they see another post about him or hear me bring this topic up again, so today, on this 5th anniversary of his death, I guess I will explain a little.
First off, I never knew how lonely grieving could be, until I was right there in the middle of it. You have your family or friends who are dealing with the loss of someone you all dearly loved (if you’re lucky enough to be experiencing it with others and not alone), trying to wrap your head around the often traumatic memories that accompany the death and nightmares plague your dreams, making restful sleep just a fleeting wish. Priorities change. A LOT. And people don’t understand. Not unless they’ve been in that place before. You’re on a different timeline than everyone else; at about the 6 week mark, I remember realizing that everyone else had moved on *it seemed* and I was barely getting my sight back. Reality is a little skewed when you’re in a cloud.
Secondly, I never knew how mad I could be at God. Yes, me, ole goody-two-shoes me who had known the Lord for so long, who had seen him move in countless ways over the years and who seemed unshakeable in her faith. I don’t know where the mindset comes from that Christians aren’t truly strong in their faith unless they seem to follow Christ with a kind of totally blind faith with no questions asked. Don’t get me wrong, what I mean is that there’s a kind of faith that says “I don’t get it, I hate it, this makes no sense, I can’t see how You can bring any good from this situation, I’m angry this didn’t turn out how I wanted it to…but THROUGH YOUR STRENGTH, LORD, I WILL TRUST YOU STILL.
See, there’s a depth that comes from understanding that the Creator of the universe, who threw galaxies of grandeur into space, who positioned this Earth at just the right spot for life to flourish on it, who began to form me in the secret of my mother’s womb before she even knew…that’s the same Creator who can take my brokenness and bring something beautiful out of it. And that depth comes from the struggling, wrestling prayers of a very human soul and a divine God in the most intimate place. Just read the Psalms or Job countless other passages in the Word (Old and New Testaments); there’s a warring going on throughout the Scriptures.
When I hear about somebody losing a loved one or grieving a particularly gut-wrenching tragedy in their lives, my heart goes out to them, because I have a little bit of a clue about the journey they’re sure to face, even if the details are different. I’ve seen two paths on that kind of trip: one that brings them closer to God and one that drives them further from him. Regardless of which way a person chooses to take, it’s life-changing.
My earnest prayer for you is that when you find yourself on such a voyage, that you let yourself ask the tough questions, that you steer your anger TOWARDS God and not away from him, that you struggle and wrestle and battle it out with him if you have to (Gen. 32:24). He can handle it! He is God after all.
And I guarantee, some day you’ll look back and see such an amazing transformation that only He could have facilitated, along with your willingness.
After 5 years, I miss my dad with a copious amount of pain that I will carry every day of my life; it’s different than when it first began, but it will always be there. I still resent the fact that he died 4 months before my wedding and that he never got to meet my son. I hate, hate, hate the pain my mom and my brother and the rest of our family have walked through.
But this is not the end of the story!
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:2-3