Tuesday, December 1, 2009
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.
"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.'"