Monday, November 24, 2014

The Sad Life Inside the Good Life

Like a river quietly snaking through the lower regions of a forest, my grief suddenly has no beginning and no end.  Wherever I set my foot along its bank, I am dangerously close to jumping in with both feet whether I want to or not.  The forest, the river, my grief is always there.  Sometimes it's just enough to reach down and drink from a one-cupped hand of icy water.  But most days I am so thirsty, so hot with grief, I let the water wash over me with all its billows and tiny waves.

One constant remains amidst the currents, the deep places and the rocks scraping my legs: relief is not found when I turn or walk away from the river. I must face it and when that's more than I can bear, I must walk alongside it.  But I cannot walk away.

The Sad Life and the Good Life

Our family is living the sad life inside the good life.  Maybe yours is, too. Or perhaps you're living the sad and the good life as a single person.  Either way, we know rain must fall into every life but how do we not only face sadness and all its realities but feel sadness without it destroying us?  What's a healthy, sad life look like?

I've known for more than a year that cancer was spreading in the body of someone I loved. Barring a miracle, Jesus will escort our beloved mother and grandmother into heaven years before her time.  (See picture above of LeAnne with our three daughters).  Knowledge alone does not help us face our sadness.  A healthy, sad life knows the facts digesting them enough to feel them, too.

An Invitation to Journey with Me

Today hospice was asked to come to her home; today hospice entered our lives.  As hard as I try to prepare myself and our daughters for the finality of death and the hope of heaven, the sadness of losing this woman is ever with me.  I want to open my heart and mind to readers while I walk through these next several weeks of loss.  You might wonder why I would expose such raw and honest feelings amidst personal sadness.  Wouldn't it make more sense for Brad, my husband, to write about his mother? Why even give sadness attention when as people of Hope we have confidence in Jesus' presence in Glory?

The most pressing reason I am compelled to write is this: every person's heart is beating to both the good and the sad; each life follows rivers of loss and abundance, gifts and regrets.  Could sadness take us down a road longer than Jesus wants it to?  Recently, I listened to another's journey as her heart spoke the question, "how much sadness is too much? When does grief turn to joy?"

I want to write and respond to those questions from a place that is fully human as I receive the good life from my Creator in the middle of facing and feeling the sad life, too.  As I lean into God differently in this season, I want to share how I'm trusting him when he tells me he can be found by me when I seek him with all my heart.  And right now, all my heart is filled not only with my experiences but with those I'm closest to. For that reason alone, I need the courage to face the grief and to feel the loss in a good, sad way so those nearest me can reach into the river without being swept away.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."  Isaiah 43:2, NIV
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