I am continuing this series 'What Story Teaches Us' with a post today on grief. So far we have been talking about learning to see and behold, both profound lessons from story. And grief is profound too, as you read this post, you will see grief encompasses so much, and so does story. I am doing this in the form of a letter for a link-up my friend, Kate Motaung, is hosting. She has just published an e-book called Letters to Grief. It is honest and beautiful and a great gift for anyone who is grieving.
Dear Grief,You are not what I once thought you were.
You are both more and less.
I once believed you came only through death. I thought you a hammer landing hard to tear through with the sharp point.
Yet, in all my youthful surety, your power was a wispy thing to the strength of a sovereign God. You could be easily mastered with Bible verses said just so.
I see now how I was blind to your true nature and my own.
I have severely underestimated you.
For you sink deeper into life’s marrow than times of physical death. You are stronger than the hurled platitudes of truth spoken quickly and confidently. (Tweet This)
There is a vastness to your darkness that cannot be understood with the human eye; the beating heart.
In the hands of evil and the expanse of unknown, you hold nothing back from the searing lies you speak. You are relentless in malicious intent to steal, kill and destroy. You ball your fury around so much evidence of all that is wrong in this world. You pummel face-on and who can withstand?
And so you have humbled me to the dusty desert plains. You have laid me low. You have kicked me when I curling, fetal, helpless, sobbing cannot find the will to fight.
But, this is your grave error; the opening door to your defeat. For in bruised reed beaten by harsh wind, and smoldering wick struggling for light I am most tenderly surrounded by Beloved Faithful.
These Hands hold me and they master you. They raise my eyes to behold a Beauty transcendent. They fan the flame of hope. They carry me Home.
And here I know you as so much less than towering Enemy. For you are in every aching heave of this world. (Tweet This)
I peer deep into the story. I find you in all ways in the dear, once perfect, now lost.
I see you in cloudy, gray turning rich maroon, deep umber and fiery golden into long winter. I see you in the hollow eyes of the corner destitute.
I hear you in the howling wolf, the crashing bang of thunder, the wailing cry of hungry babe.
I feel you in jealous hatred that tears apart, the once promising love that today abandons and the insatiable craving that runs wild to be known.
I taste you in the brackish water, a touch of salty sea, that cannot quench, and, too, in the tears.
I touch your face in a barefoot child running dirt road towards the cardboard, split wood, refuse-laden of home. I touch you in the fierce hug of every stringing endless goodbye. I touch you in the boney, frail hold of last days.
You are a paradox stirring to life all questions. For yes, you are less than I once thought, but only as I understand the greater part you play. (Tweet This)
At the heart of your evil you infect everything. Your malevolent intent pulls into the void of consuming loneliness, isolation, despair, death, and the pounding, pleading ‘WHY?’
Yet more, at the heart of your evil you illumine the only true pathway to hope.
You draw out of a turning inward in pain towards the communal suffering of every soul, every living thing groaning for completion. (Tweet This) You bring clarity to longing and cause all to point to the face of Glory; of Redemption; of Christ.This is where I have come to embrace you as friend. You mold me in the grace of a God becoming flesh and entering the heart of a dark world to bear truth. You press hard into comfort, knowledge, stagnant relationships and make me new. You are the ever-reminder of a greater purpose for the pain, a greater day of face-to-face beholding, and a greater embrace of a Love you keep leading me to receive.
Yes, dear grief, you are both more and less than I once thought you were.