Friday, May 26, 2017

I Wish I Could Say it Gets Easier

The story showed up in my newsfeed a few weeks ago. Her sister died in an accident. The week of college finals. Completely unexpected. The circumstances were so uncannily familiar it made me stop, took me back, took my breath away. Suddenly I was on the other side of this calamity, in the position of the dumb acquaintance, clumsily trying to come up with some comforting words to send in a message. It had been a few years since we had been in touch apart from social media, which does not really count. I never knew her sister and I knew I could not know the pain she and her family were suffering right now, but I could imagine. 

I wish I could come here and say that it gets better, it gets easier, and you stop missing them so much, but I want to be honest. It has been almost four years and I cannot say it is any easier. I still miss my brother every single day. I still think about him every single day. Even more so now that my life grows farther and farther from the life we shared. I wish I could share these friends, these experiences, and this life with him. I wish he could be here with my nieces and nephews and our growing family. And I know it will not get any easier. With every anniversary, every accomplishment, every wedding, and every birth – it only gets harder. But I can promise you this. You will get stronger. You will heal. You will learn to bear this burden with all of the grace bestowed upon you by our gracious Savior.

There is a long road ahead of you to that healing. I cannot tell you how long it will take. It might be months or years. In the meantime, do not hesitate to fall apart when you need to. Don’t be scared when the tears unexpectedly take over, because they will. You will find yourself hiding in the bathroom, in your bedroom, in your car a lot. You will uncontrollably burst into tears in front of strangers in public. You will go from happy to sobbing in a moment. You won’t feel like yourself for a long time and that is okay. Let yourself be broken. Let yourself fall apart. It is okay to be weak. Cry when you need to cry. Tell your loved ones and friends how you feel, as best as you can, when you feel you can. Do not hide yourself. Loss can be so isolating. It can feel like no one understands your pain, like no one ever could and maybe no one can, but they are still there for you and this is a weight you should never carry alone. Remember you are loved. You are remembered. You are seen.

Take your time. There is no timeline for grief. Months down the road, people may forget you are still hurting. For them the pain was yesterday but for you the loss is still as fresh and painful even a year later. Grief is the final act of love we have to give to those who leave us. Love never ends and consequently grief never really ends, but it will change, grow, and mature. It will not always be so fresh, poignant, new, and scary. Grief is cyclical. It comes and goes in waves and seasons. And no one can predict when those seasons of sorrow will take over you, not even you. So don’t bury your feelings simply because others expect you to be over it by now. You will never be over it.

Most importantly, remember your Savior. Remember the Man of Sorrows who knows your sorrow better than anyone. Remember his Word and his promises. Keep seeking him in worship, prayer, and in the fellowship of the saints. He knows your pain better than anyone. He loves you, your family, and your friends better than anyone could. There will be a temptation to withdraw from those around you, from the world, and even from him. You will be angry at him. You will be angry at the world, at yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive those around you in their grief. Trust your Savior. Even when you are angry, broken, and confused, go to him. Cling to him. Suffering brings us to a place every Christian needs to be to truly know Jesus Christ. We convince ourselves in our pride that faith is about dressing up on Sunday mornings, always bringing our best to Jesus, and putting on a show for those around us, but Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

Also Read: 
Hope Was Never Meant to be Buried 
When You Lose Someone  

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