Thursday, April 09, 2015

Things I Know

One of my friends just met death in a close and personal way yesterday.
He had to say goodbye to his father.
For whatever reason, he has shared some of his feelings with me, let me in on his processing.
I've been grateful for that sharing, and for what it has prompted me to ponder again.

Over the last five days, as I anticipated, with him, the passing of his father, it brought to mind the entire experience of losing mine.
Of what I've come to know.
What I depend on.
What I trust in.
What I hold to.

And I guess that it's this:

Going through hard things intensifies your focus on what really matters.
The people you love the most.
The things that need to be said.
The memories you will cherish.
The moments that have defined you, made you who you are.

One of the things that really surprised me was the realization, once my dad was gone, that our relationship was absolutely intact.
An invisible barrier between worlds might be between us, but there was no barrier to the love that we share, to the strength of the relationship.
This brought incredible comfort.  
It was something that could never be taken away or changed.

And I realized that, because of Christ -- because of what He offers me -- I never had to ultimately say goodbye anyway.  

On Easter morning last week, I sat with my kids and read my favorite account of that long ago morning.
John chapter 20.
I read it every Easter Sunday, as morning light spills in.

But this time, as I read of Mary's encounter with the Savior, it felt really personal, as if I were Mary and He was talking to me.
Just as He did with her, I believe He would ask me similar questions: 
Why my weeping? 
What do I ultimately want?
I love how the simple declaration of her name brought recognition, and I imagine that astonishment, disbelief, and joy came flooding all at once.

But here's the thing:
I believe that He comes to my life, right now, with that same light, healing, and hope.

His gifts fill me with gratitude and praise and peace.
I stagger with astonishment and awe.
But, ultimately, my goodness.

I feel joy.
Joy because He is there to stop my weeping, and yours.
Joy because He knows us personally.
Joy because He lives, and that makes all the difference.
Death in all of its forms -- along with crushing disappointments, heartache, pain, sorrow and brokenness --- these things won't last.  
Despair will give way to light and life and possibility and joy.  
I know this.

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