We buried my dad recently. After two weeks of battling complications from surgery, his body was tired, worn out and ready to rest. It is said that there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. I’d rather pay taxes today, tomorrow, and everyday than lose someone so near to my heart. If you’ve lost someone close to you, you understand this, too.
Grief and sorrow are painful links in the chain of life that bind us together. Even though we come from different generations, different ethnic groups, different socio-economic backgrounds, or different educational backgrounds, there are some things that bring us together. Sorrow and grief do just that. They are universal experiences, universal emotions. C. S. Lewis, one of the greatest theologians of modern time, penned A Grief Observed after the death of his wife. In it he says, “There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in….I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”
Grief brings with it an unbearable pain, even to believers. In his most well-known Psalm (Psalm 23), David bares his soul and expresses his devotion to God even when things around him are dark, frightening and confusing. He hangs on to the promise of the Shepherd: to look after His sheep. This picture is continued in John 10:14-15 as Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father --and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
In times of grief, it is easy to feel lonely, isolated and misunderstood. We need to give ourselves permission to feel the fullness of these emotions. Even Jesus grieved over the deaths of close companions like John the Baptist and Lazarus. It’s the paradoxical truth that love is accompanied by pain. But what would life be like without the opportunity to love deeply? I was fortunate. I had many good years with my dad. Like many, we had some rough times to navigate through, but we took the time to heal some deep wounds and to renew a relationship that ended with no regrets.
Perhaps you are hurting today. Have sorrow and grief replaced the joy you shared in a relationship with someone? Why not make today a day of reconciliation? Yes, you may have to put aside your pride, admit your own wrongs and take responsibility. Or you may need to lovingly confront someone who has hurt you. Today is a new day and a new opportunity to begin again. Perhaps the person you need to forgive, or need forgiveness from, is already gone. Take some time and write a letter, granting forgiveness or asking for it. God has a way of transcending time and bringing healing even when the person is no longer present .
There is no better time than today. Live your life with no regrets. Love deeply. Forgive often.