Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grief




Today I am participating in the one word blog carnival, and the topic is grief. I don't suppose I need to tell any of you what grief is... We have all felt mourning for someone or something. Even a newborn baby cries for the loss of the comfort which once surrounded him in his mother's womb. To be born into this earthly life is to experience grief.

I am so glad we are tackling this topic in the beginning of Advent. The closer we get to Christmas, the deeper the bereaved feel their grief. When my daddy died, I thought that'd be the deepest grief I ever felt. But outside of hearing Blue Christmas or The Little Drummer Boy (our favorite Carol), I still found joy at Christmas. Then I thought that the deepest grief I'd ever feel was the grief I felt when I found out there was nothing that could be done about my infertility. I'd look at Mother Mary holding the Christ Child and pour out my heart asking why.... But the deepest grief I ever felt was the year two of my former students died.

In the month of May, about two years ago, a dear young woman who I once taught named Elizabeth passed away after a long battle with leukemia. I have mentioned her here before. I can still close my eyes and see her in her First Communion dress. If I listen to Leroy the Redneck Reindeer , I can picture her dancing for the Christmas Program when she was in eighth grade. She was a remarkable young woman, with dreams of making the World a better place.

Though I hoped and prayed for her recovery, her passing was not a shock. The shock came in October when a teacher friend called and told me a student I had taught the year before was killed in a car crash. Her whole family survived without a scratch, thank God, but Eve got tired during the long ride, and she took of her seat belt to stretch out and lie down in the back of the van. She was thrown from the van through the glass windshield. This faith filled child was dead before she reached the hospital.

That Advent was hard. I poured my soul out to God in prayer. "Lord, why take those children? How can their families know another "Merry Christmas"? These girls weren't even my family, and I find every carol I hear this year to be painful. I'd rather have my inner thighs scraped raw with a potato peeler than hear Have a Holly Jolly Christmas ever again! If I feel like this, how can their brothers, sisters, parents, ever stand to celebrate Christmas again? What do they have to celebrate? How bitter this holiday of "rejoicing" must taste to them!"

One Sunday, at Church, after having said that, or a prayer like that, often, I felt the answer from God deep within my heart. "Helen...They can rejoice because it is not the end. Their daughter, their sister, will be reunited with them once again. They can rejoice this Christmas in the birth of their daughter's, their sister's, Savior, as well as their own. No, they will not have a "holly jolly Christmas" for a long time, but they can have a peace filled one where they can feel gratitude that their loss is their daughter's, their sister's gain."

So then my prayer changed. I prayed that they would find peace that Christmas, and Rejoice in the birth of their daughter's, their sister's Savior. Each time I had to bear listening to "Holiday Music", I prayed that Elizabeth's and Eve's families would find comfort and joy in knowing their daughter, their sister, died under the protection of a Savior.

There are many people grieving out there this Christmas. Pray with me please that they can rejoice in the birth of their Savior, and that whoever they are grieving for also knew Jesus.


Revelation 21:3-4
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'"

21 comments:

JML said...

Helen, I sometimes wish we went to church together. I feel like I'd love to see you on Sundays. I've wondered for a while why you didn't have kids. I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to experience those losses. Great post. there's an innocence to your words that I greatly appreciate. Good job, friend!!!!!

Peter P said...

Wonderful post, Helen.

Thank you for sharing some of your experiences with grief and the hope that God can bring!

Bridget Chumbley said...

Lovely thoughts, Helen. Thanks for sharing your heart!

nAncY said...

a good post,
and a good prayer.

Glynn said...

Grief at Christmastime -- seems like the wrong thing is being punctuated. Christmas is to celebrate, not mourn. And yet reality pays no mind to the calendar. The prayer was the right one,I think. Good post, Helen.

S. Etole said...

He holds our hearts in His hands ... the verse you share is such a beautiful comfort.

~*Michelle*~ said...

So sorry for these losses in your life.....thank you for sharing even though it was painful.

I felt a pit in my stomach reading about the losses, until I read these words:

"died under the protection of a Savior."

You will probably think I am a little loony (I've been called worse) but a little flash of white light came into my mind after I read those seven words. It wasn't a startling flash, but more of a comforting soothing beam. Weird, yet peaceful.

sherri said...

I'm surrounded by grieving people right now and your words are very encouraging. And the last scripture is what we must dwell on to keep us going. Thanks for a beautiful reminder Helen.

katdish said...

Beautiful post, Helen and perfect scripture. Thank you.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Sorry for the losses you've experienced. Love the hope in this line ... "They can rejoice because it is not the end."

Hope in something outside of what we see in this world is joy indeed!

Marni said...

Beautiful post Helen. I'm in tears. You are such a wonderful woman of God and a wonderful friend. I'm so glad this world has you in it...

Jojo Agot said...

I know we often hear this but I think it's always worth repeating:

"Our joy is based on what God has done for us, not on our circumstances."

I guess it just looks good on paper but when tragedy strikes, we don't really remember stuff like this. At least not right away.

jasonS said...

Beautifully written, Helen. Thank you.

Wendy said...

You know that if you were here, you'd get a big ol' hug, right?

Bernadette Pabon ,Teacher, Director of CCD, Author and publisher said...

Helen you sure are a special child of God. You are so inspiring. I love your post and you are right Christmas is a bad time to be grieving,but like you put it, its also a time for celebration, so we celebrate with those that are with God.

sherrymeneley said...

Again, a beautiful post. Christmas is such a mixture of emotions time of year. It can get so manic-depressive. So just to be able to rest in peace would be lovely...

Annie K said...

Everyone needs a Helen in their life. I'm glad I have mine. ;)

Wonderful post and yes, that is the perfect scripture.

♥ Kathy said...

My son passed away in October of 2001. That was the saddest Christmas ever until my other children reminded me that he was in Heaven with their grandpa and wasn't hurting. Thank you for writing this Helen. I love you ♥

Tracy said...

I tear-ed up when reading this; thank you for sharing it. Also, as I read this I was reminded of the words "for we are not as those without hope"...

Even though life is so hurtful sometimes, I am grateful that we have Jesus and can turn to Him as you did.

Ginny (MAD21) said...

Heart wrenching, Helen. I have a terrible time losing people I care about. Thanks so much for this perspective.

Cheryl said...

grief is just plain hard... I can't imagine life without Biblical promises.