i've been reading it this morning, all over the place it seems, of those who have lost loved ones and the difficulty that the holidays bring.
and i stood this morning, and added my voice to the many as we sang of Him Who is Risen and how death has lost its sting...
and i couldn't get another word out.
because it still stings.
what do you do when it's 2 years and 3 months and 10 days and each day to celebrate sinks that thorn in deeper and the sting grows stronger as you feel lost in the middle of changing plans? plans that remind you of how fractured life can be? joy that is easily remembered as what was once your own.
sometimes the dark of a tomb seems more comforting than the bright Light Who exposes all that hurt.
all that grief.
and maybe it sinks deep because it takes me by surprise -
it's spring, isn't it? shouldn't the evidence of new life all around seep into this heart that feels stung.
i drive by the dogwoods, the magnolias, those japenese cherry trees and everywhere, there is the scent of flowers in the air. and it stirs the breath inside this chest that feels constricted by all the tears and the longings and the broken dreams and i know deep down, He hasn't left me.
he talked at the pulpit this morning, our pastor who reminded us of joy. contrasting big, here joy that is based on everything finite - how it always starts large but fizzles away to nothing, always left to disappoint, always left leaving us longing.
but there, in the book of john, that 20th chapter - the author speaks of his own joy that started small, sparked in the dawn and over the coming minutes, hours and days it grew large. a joy based in the Eternal that exploded out and ignited hearts all over the world.
it has ignited mine,
in the past.
i can remember the days where it burned bright and hot and i thought nothing could dim it...
i think my eyes shifted, like those of peter whose feet walked on top of the water,
when hurt and change and life rose up and threatened to overwhelm.
i let it, and i was swept under,
and i really do end up drowning in my own sorrows.
so what happens when joy is hard to find on Easter morning?
when that husband who loves me takes my hands and whispers of the stranglehold that hopelessness seems to have on me? when he reminds me Who Loves us and who our family is and how He has never left us or rejected us?
i think it leads to mary magdelene - the woman who couldn't see past her grief and sorrow.
the one who looked in the tomb,
the empty tomb filled with two angels,
who saw the two heavenly beings, but didn't seem to see the significance.
the one who heard His Voice and didn't seem to recognize the sound that had filled her ears for so many years...
until He said her name.
her joy was sparked when she realized she was recognized.
recognized by the One Who defeated death and broke the power of sin and Who loved her in all her humanity and brokenness.
i don't know when or if these days will ever become easier; if broken families and missed loves ones will just become a part of the background instead of the weight that drags this heart down.
i don't know.
but what i am coming to know,
what i am trying to cling to today,
is that He knows me.
in the middle of all my grief and my questions and pain,
He sees me drowning in my sorrow and He reaches down,
He calls my name,
and hope is sparked...