And an odd thing about a new grief is that it tends to tap the well of past sorrows. Have you experienced this? As I grieve over the loss of my teaching ministry to children, I find myself remembering details surrounding my father's death from cancer with more clarity than I've experienced in the thirteen years since his death. Unpleasant! Grievous!! It's as though experiencing the emotion of grief over leaving my twenty-two year teaching career has resurrected the memory of all the major sorrows of my life. Just this morning I re-experienced the moment I understood a dual blow of loss: my mother would no longer nurture me, and at the same time new caregiving responsibilities were about to crash upon my shoulders. I was now going to have to take care of her! I hadn't thought about that moment in eight years.
I'd come in the back door of my mother's house. I had been stopping by every morning in an attempt to help her to regain some of her former independence; her Alzheimer's had not yet been diagnosed. As I came in the door she said, in a sing-song, little girl voice, "There's a monster on my ceiling and I hate him."
I walked to her side and looked up to see a large spider perched in the corner of her ceiling. I drug a chair over, prayed, and killed the spider.
The history behind this incident is that the mother I'd had all my life knew that I am terrified of spiders, and would have tried to protect me from the horrors of that eight legged creature on the ceiling. She would have killed the spider for me, warning me away from the area until the deed was done. This was the first moment that I knew that I had irretrievably lost my mother as I'd known her. Grievous! Painful!!!
This morning as I cried out to the Lord with the discomfort of the cumulative weight of my life's sorrows, several truths came to mind.
- I've not borne these sorrows alone. Through each time of grief, the Lord has strengthened and provided for me (Psalm 29:11).
- God has promised me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
- The Lord is sovereign over our sorrows and our joys. In each one we should give Him praise. Regardless of the current circumstances of our lives, He is worthy of our adoration (Romans 8:28).
- From every great sorrow I've experienced, great blessing has come. He brings gold from ashes (Isaiah 61:3)!