Grieving is a funny thing. Not that the word 'funny' should really be associated with grief. Maybe I mean Grieving is a strange thing. It feels like an ever-changing process. First you feel one way, then another. You think you are past a certain feeling and it creeps up again out of nowhere. You feel like all your tears are cried, your cheeks have been dry for a few days, then out of nowhere come buckets full of tears. It's kinda like being on a roller coaster in the dark: you can't see whether there is a hill or a drop or a turn ahead. You just ride it along.
Going through this season I have been sad. So sad. Sad doesn't feel like a strong enough word. My heart has hurt. Really really hurt. I find myself experiencing something and thinking 'my babies won't get to do that.' They won't get to go to a Reds game, or swim in a pool. They won't walk a beach or marvel at the Grand Canyon. They won't run around the zoo with their friends and blow bubbles on hot days.
What hits me in those moments, though, is the realization that my babies aren't missing out. They aren't going to miss those things; I am. I won't get to see the smile on their face at the ballpark. Or catch them as they jump into a pool. I will miss hearing their shrieks as waves come at them, and the chance to answer their questions about nature. As I watch my children run around with their friends I will miss the children who aren't there. But those children won't be missing anything. They are in the courts of the King, walking streets of gold. Their little bodies are already made perfect, and they will never have to hurt. They won't have skinned knees or hurt feelings. They won't feel left out by their friends or fall and break an arm. No stitches, no hospital visits, just perfect paradise.
It is I who will hurt. My arms ache to hold them; my lips yearn to kiss their sweet little noses. My eyes seek out a face that isn't there. My body yearns to cuddle them close. My heart...oh my heart...my heart wants first steps and first words, kisses and 'mamas,' story time and naps together. My mind wanders down paths of what might have been...favorite colors...sports to play...music lessons...who would they have been? My spirit yearns for what I will never have in this world, these beautiful children, but my soul will know them someday.
Grief is not for those gone. They have nothing to hurt over. Grief is truly for those of us left behind. We are the ones to hurt. I stop short of saying it's a selfish emotion, because I don't believe it is. The Bible tells us "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." I don't believe grief is something I have to 'get over' or 'work through.' At least not on my own. I believe, at the end of the day, the moral of the story is where I go with my grief. Or more importantly, to Whom I go. I can't process it on my own. I don't understand the how or why. But I do know Who is my Refuge. I know Who will hold me when I need to be comforted, Who will strengthen me when I want to fall. In turning to Him I can be made stronger, I can love more deeply, and rely on Him more fully in the future.
I read recently that our scars remind us of 'God's unfailing presence' in our lives. I am not looking for God to completely heal me on the other side of this grief. I'm not looking to be the person I was before. As a good friend pointed out, what's the point of growing through something hard if you don't end up better for it on the other side? So I choose to take refuge in my God. I choose to trust Him when it doesn't make sense to me. I choose to live in faith, to love and take risks with my heart, trusting in Him to make the pieces fit together.