I wake to the morning light, feeling as if I am under a weighted cloud. I’ve walked this road long enough to know that what haunts me is not clinical depression. No, there are other diagnoses that name the heaviness in my heart, and I realize that this is very much a place of grieving. My son is no longer growing, and I am afraid. Diabetes is a complicating factor; the treatment is as difficult as the condition. The load I bear increases, and PTSD often keeps my husband huddled in a place I cannot reach. I am lonely, weary of this life of consistent medical deluge. I want to stay in bed, snuggled under soft sheets, blanketed by fear and grief. I push through. Past anger to the sadness. Sometimes life is very, very hard. This is where I am, a place where medical terms crash into real life. I want to learn to live thanksgiving in the midst of the storm.
New life is manifested through conscious commitments to create a new pattern. My journey will involve healthy grieving paired with the giving of thanks. I tug against the process. I do not like how I feel while doing the work. I dread fleshing out what our culture often sees as weakness. Yet, there's another tugging at my heart and I know the truth. I will not heal if I do not grieve.
I remember a story I've known since childhood, from the book of John. Jesus escapes arrest only to have word come, "The one you love so very much is sick." I know this story well. "...oddly he stays where he is for two more days." (MSG) The God-man chooses to stay, so belief within those who follow him can grow. Four days past death Jesus arrives in Bethany. He knows his mission; to raise the dead. Yet he sees the flow of grief, and steps in. Anger and sadness wash over him, marks of the cycle. The Son of Man chose to grieve. Why was there a need to weep when He knew that God had given him authority to raise the dead? To set the standard for healthy grieving.
Our culture often sees strength as resisting tears, yet Jesus' power was shown through them. He continued to allow the cycle of grief as he approached the tomb, instructing, "Roll away the stone." Sisters protested the stench, but Jesus stood firm. "Didn't I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" The stone was removed, and standing before the tomb, Jesus gave thanks. "Father I'm grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen." Even in death and loss Jesus found gratitude. An then, in the wake of decay, Jesus called forth new life. On a word and a prayer and a grateful heart, a miracle was borne.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." New life comes as I learn to balance grief with gratitude. There is a time to stand at the tomb and work through the loss, and there is a time to be grateful for what been given. Healing and gratitude are entwined with the rememberance that we are never alone. There is One who listens, and One who knows, for He chose to walk through grief to new life-- and more than once. Remember, the tomb is empty!!