Daily D – Psalm 128
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord—
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.
May the Lord continually bless you from Zion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.
May Israel have peace!” (NLT)
We laid my father to rest a week ago today.
Grief is an uneven experience. Most of us have learned about the five stages of grief. Contrary to how they are often presented, we do not experience these stages in a neat order one after another. They come to us in a somewhat messier fashion.
Family, friends, and wise professionals can help us sort through our emotions. So many kind and caring people have written, called, emailed, and texted us.
One of the best things from this past week has been time spent with our granddaughters. One of our granddaughters lives nearby. The other lives in Florida.
We got to keep our one-year-old granddaughter for a few hours one evening this week. Time with her is a healing balm. She makes me laugh and smile and feel good all over.
We had long-standing plans to visit our curly, blonde-haired beauty in Florida this week as well. We have been fishing, went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and to a local farm to pet goats and eat lunch. Today we are going to the Aquarium after gymnastics.
Grief seeps in through the cracks. It shows up at the oddest of times and places. Words, ideas, and experiences trigger memories and refresh the sense of loss. Grief can make us feel tired and numb. It can make us want to do a whole lot of nothing.
Death is real. It separates loved ones. There is a finality about it. Even so, life goes on. Grief helps us slow down and acclimate to new reality. It presents new perspective.
We are living life today. We are making the most of the moments. We are also carrying a little extra baggage, a bit of heaviness in our steps. There is a weariness in our souls. And it’s okay. Young moms seated nearby chatter about the details of family life. Little ones laugh and cry. A little girl’s big brother returned from exploring with an armful of books. Good kid.
Soon we will have Tootsie Pops and visit the aquarium to see the creatures of the deep blue sea. Which will remind me of a fishing trip Dad and I had to cancel very early one morning when the wind was too strong from our guide’s wisdom. Which will remind me of all the times we went fishing.
Which will remind me of my first fishing trip in a boat with Dad and my grandfather. My rod and reel ended up at the bottom of the pond. Dad fished it out. My first cast resulted in an immediate catch.
Dad went to his grave with a mark on his left cheek where his brother’s hook sliced open his face. Some wounds leave lifelong scars. Some scars remind us of pain and its greater purpose. Some scars remind us of loss.
This is a good day to be alive. I wish Dad could be with us. He would love the aquarium as much as our granddaughter. He would love watching her run and skip and dance. He would love her questions and wonder. He would love her laughter.
I will live this day with ears attuned to laughter, eyes alert to wonder, heart healing from with every memory and the tears they bring.
Our Father, death is hard. It is painful. As C. S. Lewis said, it feels so much like fear. Lead us through these living years in a manner in which joy pervades all things and underlies even the most challenging grief. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.